APAS calls on government to re­spond to drought con­di­tions

The Southwest Booster - - MARKET PLACE -

The Agri­cul­tural Pro­duc­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Saskatchew­an has pro­posed sev­eral steps that need to be taken to help the prov­ince’s pro­duc­ers cope with cur­rent drought con­di­tions.

“APAS is call­ing on both lev­els of government to ini­ti­ate a drought-re­lated Agrire­cov­ery as­sess­ment. For many pro­duc­ers, 2019 is our third straight year of be­low av­er­age mois­ture,” APAS pres­i­dent Todd Lewis said in a June 12 press re­lease. “We can’t just keep hop­ing for rain. It is time to act.”

APAS has asked government to as­sist with wa­ter sup­plies and wa­ter qual­ity man­age­ment, des­ig­nate the en­tire prov­ince as el­i­gi­ble for the Fed­eral Live­stock Tax De­fer­ral pro­gram, and cre­ate a pro­vin­cial Drought Com­mit­tee of government and in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives to mon­i­tor drought con­di­tions and over­see as­sis­tance mea­sures.

APAS would also like Saskatchew­an Crop In­sur­ance to con­sider a new pro­gram that will en­cour­age the con­ver­sion of drought-dam­aged cereal crops into live­stock feed such as green feed, silage or graz­ing.

“Pro­duc­ers across the prov­ince are under con­sid­er­able stress,” Lewis added. “The government may not be able to make it rain, but there are con­crete ac­tions that can be taken to al­le­vi­ate some of the bur­den pro­duc­ers are deal­ing with.”

Among their spe­cific ini­tia­tives, APAS is call­ing for:

Saskatchew­an Crop In­sur­ance Cor­po­ra­tion

A. Ex­pe­dite as­sess­ment of crops that are at the low-yield ap­praisal level (point at which it would be un­eco­nom­i­cal to har­vest a nor­mal crop) as “zero yield” and al­low them to be grazed or har­vested as silage or green feed with­out pro­ducer penalty.

B. Es­tab­lish new green­feed in­cen­tive pro­gram that en­cour­ages the con­ver­sion of in­sured acres to live­stock feed by de­duct­ing the low-yield ap­praisal amount from pro­duc­ers in­sured cov­er­age for claim pur­poses with­out im­pact­ing the cal­cu­la­tion of long-term yield av­er­ages.

Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture:

A. De­velop a Tem­po­rary Fenc­ing Pro­gram pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for the con­struc­tion of tem­po­rary fences to fully uti­lize emer­gency pas­ture lands.

B. En­hance the Farm and Ranch Wa­ter In­fra­struc­ture Pro­gram (FRWIP) by:

1. Ini­ti­at­ing a new Agri­cul­tural Wa­ter Pump­ing Pro­gram, to source and make avail­able loaned pumps and pipes for con­sol­i­da­tion of ex­ist­ing wa­ter sources;

2. Fast track­ing wa­ter de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions for drought des­ig­nated zones;

3. Waiv­ing lim­i­ta­tions of el­i­gi­ble ex­penses so that pro­gram caps are re­moved for fenc­ing of ex­ist­ing wa­ter sources (cur­rently $750) and for live­stock wa­ter tanks (cur­rently $2,500 per ap­pli­cant);

4. In­clud­ing in­stalled so­lar wa­ter de­liv­ery sys­tems as an el­i­gi­ble ex­pense for ex­ist­ing wa­ter sources; and

5. In­clud­ing mo­bile fire pro­tec­tion units for ru­ral communitie­s as an el­i­gi­ble ex­pen­di­ture

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