REGINA – This week, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) sent letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Brad Wall of Saskatchewan; as well as their respective Ministers of Agriculture; commending the Saskatchewan’s Premier, Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud and Finance Minister Rod Gantefoer for their comments relative to the plight of the Saskatchewan and Canadian livestock industries and the need for immediate assistance to the livestock sector in the economic stimulus package that the federal government will incorporate in its upcoming budget.
“We appreciate that the Government of Saskatchewan recognizes the significant hardships that have challenged the livestock sector in Canada – BSE, border closures, rising transportation costs and now COOL Legislation in the US,” said Greg Marshall, President of APAS. “The current global economic situation will only deepen the cow-calf crisis and reduce the livestock industry to unsustainable levels in Saskatchewan.”
Following a conference call with Western Premiers to discuss the upcoming Federal budget and the proposed bailout of the auto sector in Ontario, Premier Wall publically stated that “Here in western Canada, the cattle industry, the hog industry, has been undergoing a lot of difficulty since BSE, frankly, for years.” Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud has been openly calling for improvements to the Agri-Stability Program for the long term and has indicated his support of any ideas the Conservative government may have for short term assistance. When asked if the provincial government would be willing to cost-share a program, Bjornerud said ''we would certainly look at.'' Heading into the Provincial Finance Ministers meeting last week, Saskatchewan Finance Minister Rod Gantefoer insisted that it isn't just the auto sector that is struggling, forestry and livestock need help too.
“Our provincial leaders have the support of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan and all its members as they call for assistance for the Canadian livestock industry,” stated Marshall as he emerged from a meeting of the Board of Directors. “We need solutions that will ensure that Canada’s farmers and ranchers are able to buy the trucks that Ontario’s economy relies upon.”
In the letters, APAS outlined a number of possible policy options to address the current crisis. These options were part of a study on the current crisis commissioned by APAS, titled “The Cow Calf Sector in Crisis”; and were adopted as APAS policy at the Annual General Meeting of APAS, held earlier this month in Regina. The organization also requested meetings with Federal Minister Ritz and Provincial Minister Bjornerud to address the growing crisis.
APAS is Saskatchewan’s general farm organization formed to provide farmers and ranchers with a democratically elected, grassroots, non-partisan, producer organization based on rural municipal boundaries. As the voice of agriculture in Saskatchewan, APAS represents the views of all agricultural stakeholders in order to form comprehensive policies that benefit all sectors of agriculture.
For more information, please contact:
Greg Marshall, President – Tel: 306-746-7747 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Nial Kuyek, General Manager – Tel: 306-789-7774 (ext 229) or email@example.com