Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Minister David Marit has announced $10 million in funding to help livestock producers manage the impacts of COVID-19 related market disruptions.
$5 million will go towards Saskatchewan’s share of the costs associated with participation in the national AgriRecovery set-aside program announced by the federal government May 5. The federal government is covering 60% of the program.
In total, Saskatchewan livestock producers will now be able to access a total of $12.5 million under the set-aside program. The Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation will deliver the program to Saskatchewan producers.
“Our livestock sector is facing tremendous challenges, with producers facing higher costs to feed animals that cannot move along the supply chain as they normally would,” Marit says in a press release. “Participation in the AgriRecovery set-aside program will compensate producers for the cost of temporarily holding cattle back from the market until supply more evenly matches demand and processing capacity.”
The balance of the $10 million, $5 million, will be used to partially offset higher premium costs of the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program (WLPIP).
The WLPIP allows producers to buy insurance against price fluctuations and lock in a floor price on their calves this fall. Still, WLPIP premiums have tripled and even quadrupled due to uncertainty from COVID-19, says the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA).
The provincial government will cover 40 per cent of the increased premium costs dating back to February 25. The SSGA is calling on the federal government to contribute the other 60 percent of the premium increase.
These premium adjustments will be in place until September 1, 2020, at which time the provincial government will review and reassess. The province continues to encourage the federal government to support the sector by contributing the remaining 60 per cent of the increase in premium costs.
“Given the situation, ensuring a profitable price through WLPIP is a good business decision. Producers can’t afford not to have coverage,” says SSGA president Bill Huber. “Government assisting with premiums will make this necessary coverage more affordable.”
The deadline for obtaining calf price insurance though the WLPIP is being extended from May 28, 2020, to June 18, 2020.