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'Take the pressure off': Sask. producers say 2024-25 budget could do more as they prepare for more drought


Saskatchewan producers say the 2024-25 provincial budget may not be enough to help farmers through more drought conditions.

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) says the current crop insurance needs to be expanded to better help farmers dealing with multiple years of consecutive drought.

To qualify for yield protection, fields must have less than 70 per cent yield for two or more years.

“We would like to see that after one year,” said APAS president Ian Boxall. “Just to alleviate those in the midst of this prolonged drought and see their yield below their average and their premiums go up.”

The most recent budget invested $570.6 million into the ministry of agriculture – marking an increase of $22.4 million from 2023-24.

Targeted projects include 38 additional weather stations across the province and irrigation development programs.

The ministry’s budget also provided $431.7 million to fund federal-provincial risk management programs, including Crop Insurance and Agri Stability.

APAS welcomed the increase but added more help is needed with more producers turning to crop insurance to cover yield impacted from the drought.

“Crop insurance is very important,” Boxall said. “But I sure hope we get some spring rains to take the pressure off.”

Despite some late-winter snow, much of the province is seeing moderate to severe drought heading into the spring.

The southwest and west-central areas of the province are seeing the worst, parts for multiple years in a row.

On Wednesday, Minister of Finance Donna Harpauer said Saskatchewan could handle it.

“It is concerning we may have pockets of drought again,” she said. “We have the fund to address a drought like last year.”

“But the previous year, we relied on re-insurance and we still are supporting re-insurance should there be a catastrophic province-wide drought,” Harpauer added.

The NDP feels the government is leaving farmers out to dry.

“You have to plan for realities,” Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon said in response to the budget Wednesday. “It’s wrong the premier and agriculture minister have rejected calls to meet with producers and convene an urgent committee to plan around the drought.”

Boxall believes producers could help ensure government investment is put to better use.

“In an economy like we’re in, it’s hard to ask for money,” he said. “But with more collaboration, we could align that and make sure those funds are getting to where they need to be.” Top Stories

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