In between Agribition and fall meetings, we fit in the annual meeting of our executive and the leadership of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. This is a good chance to touch base on the topics of interest to cattle producers and the Ministry to see if we are seeing things in similar ways. This was the first of these meetings since Rick Burton took over as Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
As expected, he demonstrated great understanding of the issues we brought forward and what we are looking for in the future. The things that were discussed included the Provincial Lands Act and regulations which are undergoing a modernization. SCA has been clear in the desire to have access to lease land controlled by the lease holder. Indications are that will be the case. SCA has also made the case that Saskatchewan lease lands should be available to use as security by lease holders which would even the scene with Alberta.
The meeting with the ministry also saw discussions over improvements needed for Western Livestock Price Insurance and the desire to see it become a permanent program, the premise identification program and the need to get all producers with a premise identification number in this system, the bovine TB situation and research priorities. Ministry staff and SCA staff work together well and we will continue to work to advance SCA policies with the Ministry of Agriculture and other ministries as needed (e.g. Environment).
Carbon tax was also discussed at the meeting. SCA voiced appreciation for the government’s stance which recognizes that agriculture including cattle production has a lot of positive impacts on the carbon cycle via sequestering carbon. If this sequestering is not recognized, then it is unlikely carbon taxation will be a positive for the industry.