Drought Assistance

Res #: 20-01M
Number: 20
Year: 2001
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No

Resolution No. 20-01M

WHEREAS, livestock producers in the drought areas of Saskatchewan, while attempting to maintain breeding herds and flocks, are incurring considerable costs associated with developing water supplies, fencing grazing areas, obtaining alternate pastures, transportation costs and purchasing feed supplies, etc.; and

WHEREAS, most producers have already significantly culled their breeding herds, and any further culling will be of quality breeding stock thereby causing producers to forgo future revenues;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Provincial and Federal Governments provide cash grant assistance to producers in the amount of $125 per breeding head for cattle and $25 per breeding head for sheep in the designated disaster and drought areas.

Response from the Honourable Clay Serby, Minister of Agriculture and Food:

While the Government of Saskatchewan recognizes the fact that farmers and ranchers are facing a difficult situation due to the 2001 drought, and has implemented a number of programs to assist the agricultural industry, we are not considering a cash grant assistance program for breeding stock at this time. The fact remains that the federal government is the only level of government that has the resources to provide the level of assistance needed to help farmers deal with the effects of the drought.

Although I will continue to press the federal government for additional assistance for the industry, Ottawa has previously rejected my request for financial assistance. However, I remain hopeful that the federal government will allocate additional funding towards the PFRA water development activities in the province, as well as extend the deferral period under the Tax Deferral for Drought Induces Sale of Breeding Stock program to three years instead of one. This provision would give cattle producers up to three years to rebuild their stock. I have also written the federal government asking them to take steps to ensure that the Spring Cash Advance Program for crops is extended for 2002, and to request that the federal government examine and implement other working capital initiatives for producers of commodities not currently covered by the Spring Cash Advance Program.

In view of the fact that the 2001 drought will have a significant impact on the availability of working capital for many Saskatchewan producers in 2002, I also recommended that the federal government examine additional short-term loan program options for livestock producers and the producers of commodities not covered by the Spring Cash Advance Program. In addition to the above course of action, the CFIP has agreed to provide interim payment options for the 2001 claim year. Application forms are available to producers by phoning the CFIP toll-free line at 1-888-343-1064.