The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, along with the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), announced a new Pest Biosecurity Program for the province on Thursday.
The program will receive an annual investment of $2.85 million from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), for five years. Administered by the SARM, it will offer rural municipalities and First Nations four programs:
- Plant health network consisting of six full-time Plant Health Officers and six seasonal staff members in Saskatchewan. The employees will be expected to work with rural municipalities and First Nations, providing training and support to appointed Pest Control Officers and Weed Inspectors. They will also monitor, survey, report on, and help combat invasive/emerging threats to plant biosecurity in agriculture, such as clubroot.
- Invasive Plant Control Program, where up to $500,000 per year will be allocated to subsidizing the cost of chemicals to eradicate controlled, prohibited and noxious weeds.
- Rat Control Program, which replaced the Provincial Rat Eradication Program, and will see bait rebates to a maximum of $500,000 per year
- Beaver Control Program, where up to $450,000 per year will be allocated to the humane removal of beavers (requiring licensed trappers).
The three rebate programs will be cost-shared up to 50 percent between rural municipalities and First Nations.
The deadline to apply under the 2018-19 CAP-BCP is February 15, 2019.
“Farmers know that pests can be a significant liability to the environment and the economy,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “This funding will ensure local programming exists to mitigate pest issues, helping Canadian growers protect their agricultural crops and keep their businesses strong.”
“Having a consistent approach to eliminating and recording pests across Saskatchewan will minimize the impact of agricultural pests such as invasive plants, rats, beavers and new diseases, such as clubroot,” Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said. “By joining with SARM, we’re ensuring producers across Saskatchewan will have access to the training and tools they need to protect their livelihoods and be responsible stewards of the land.”
“SARM is pleased to be awarded the opportunity to administer these programs,” SARM President Ray Orb said. “Resolutions passed by SARM members continue to ask for more support, specifically for clubroot. SARM is hopeful that this programming will provide the assistance rural municipalities need to proactively manage these pests. We will continue to work with the province to monitor the effectiveness of these programs as they are introduced.”