APAS calls on government to respond to drought conditions
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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