News Release - July 20, 2006
PREMIER ANNOUNCES HELP FOR FARMERS UNABLE TO SEED
Premier Lorne Calvert outlined three key initiatives to help producers and others affected by excess moisture in 2006 at a news conference in Tisdale.
"Our government recognizes the extraordinary challenges producers, rural municipalities and others are facing due to excess moisture, especially in the northeast and we are prepared to support these people," Calvert said. "First, we will provide 2006 unseeded acreage support to help those producers throughout the province who were unable to seed due to heavy snows, rains and flooding."
In combination with existing farm support programs, this assistance will provide farmers with much-needed cash flow. Producers will receive a $10 per acre payment on eligible unseeded acres, which will be determined in the same way as unseeded acres under the Crop Insurance program.
Based on an estimated 1.8 million eligible unseeded acres, the Calvert government will provide producers with approximately $18 million in support.
"With today's announcement, producers could receive up to $75 per unseeded acre: $50 from Crop Insurance, $15 from the federal government's Cover Crop Protection Program, and $10 from Saskatchewan," Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Wartman said.
The Saskatchewan Farm Support Review Committee discussed the situation facing producers who have been struggling with excess moisture conditions. It was the committee's view that a $10 per acre payment would be fair, to those farmers unable to seed and those who incurred the costs of seeding a crop.
The Government of Saskatchewan will also be providing hundreds of thousands of dollars to communities and private property owners in the northeast through the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program to assist with repairing infrastructure damaged by excess moisture. For example, the Rural Municipality of Arbourfield has received an interim payment of $302,000 and more money is expected to flow into this region.
Calvert has also instructed the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority to provide additional support to municipalities for the removal of obstacles from natural water channels.
About two-thirds of the producers eligible for the support payment are enrolled in Saskatchewan Crop Insurance and they will receive a letter that will authorize administrators to provide the necessary information to calculate their payments. Those not participating in Crop Insurance will be required to apply for support. Applications must be filed by October 4th, 2006.
"While I am proud to announce Saskatchewan's continued investment in its agriculture industry, I am extremely disappointed that our producers still do not have access to an adequate federal disaster assistance program or to the $575 million we requested for Saskatchewan grain and oilseed farmers earlier this year," Calvert said.
Saskatchewan has long maintained its position that agriculture producers across Canada must have access to a federally-delivered disaster program, and to a national business risk management program that is more fair and affordable than the current 60:40 federal-provincial cost-shared program.
Application forms and complete information on the 2006 unseeded acreage support will be available by July 31st on Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food's website at www.agr.gov.sk.ca, or by calling toll-free 1-877-874-5365.
For More Information, Contact: