Res #: 17-01A
Responses Received: No
WHEREAS, drought has caused considerable deterioration of provincial grasslands forcing Saskatchewan livestock producers into unequal bidding for tame hay; and
WHEREAS, the Alberta government is subsidizing trucking of feed for their producers;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM request the Provincial Government to address this problem in a similar manner as Alberta in order to help our livestock producers.
Response from Honourable Clay Serby, Minister of Agriculture and Food
While it is true the Alberta government has been able to provide a high level of support to their livestock industry, it’s also true that the Alberta government has a more significantly fiscal capacity as a direct result of their oil and gas revenues. Consequently, while they are able to provide this level of support to their agricultural industry without federal assistance, other provinces must rely heavily on the federal government for disaster program assistance.
In addition, cattle producers have told us to be very careful how we help them address the drought due to possible trade implications – especially with the United States who continues to watch what we do after the recent Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF) action. The government is in agreement with the cattle producers. It is very important that the strategies we employ to assist livestock producers do not cause trade problems for our beef industry. As you know, we rely on export markets, primarily to the Unites States, and we need to maintain access to this lucrative market.
Furthermore, our livestock producer groups have told us they don’t think subsidized trucking programs are an effective means of support for the sector as the subsidy merely gets capitalized into the purchase price.
I will continue my strategy to pressure the federal government to take action to help those producers who face low yields and to provide more funds for water development. I have requested that the federal government provide funding for the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) for water development projects to help livestock producers. I have also indicated that Saskatchewan would also try to find funds for water development. I am hopeful that announcements will occur in the near future.