Saskatchewan forage industry members will work together to develop and implement a strategy to improve the sector’s competitiveness and to ensure its long-term prosperity with the help of federal government funding announced this week. Federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz was on hand this week to announce a $148,000 investment to help the Saskatchewan Forage Council (SFC) build partnerships and promote industry-wide dialogue through the formation of the Saskatchewan Forage Network.
“Forages are a core driver of the Saskatchewan economy, and we are pleased to support the sector in developing an efficient and coordinated approach,” said Minister Ritz. “The formation of the Network will enable the sector to achieve tangible and practical results through calculated investments in key areas.”
The funding will allow the SFC to secure a coordinator for the newly formed Saskatchewan Forage Network, and to carry out activities and deliver on the Network’s objectives. These objectives include developing a strategy to build forage research capacity, facilitating access to project funds, and achieving coordinated technology transfer and extension activities across the industry.
An industry-led steering committee, which includes members from the SFC, the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, SaskMilk, the Sask Leafcutters Association, the Saskatchewan Forage Seed Development Commission, and the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan, will identify new priorities, needs, and gaps as the Network model is developed and implemented.
“This project is coming at a key time for the forage industry, as we are currently facing a serious lack of investment in forage research and program funding, both in Saskatchewan and across Canada. Funding for this project will be used to consult with and bring together stakeholders in a coordinated effort on forage-related issues facing the industry,” said Aaron Ivey, President of the SFC and Chair of the Forage Network Steering Committee. “I am happy to report that this network has already seen positive progress.”
This investment is supported through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), a five-year, $163-million initiative to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. The Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan Inc. (ACS) delivers the regional component of CAAP in Saskatchewan. This project is also receiving funding under the Saskatchewan Beef Industry Development Fund.