Saskatchewan Stock Growers Welcome COVID-19 Assistance

The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) welcomes Minister of Agriculture David Marit’s announcement today of additional funding to help livestock producers manage the impacts of COVID-19-related market disruptions.

The $10 million in new funding includes $5 million for Saskatchewan’s share of the costs associated with the national AgriRecovery set-aside program, and $5 million to partially offset higher premium costs under 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, but WLPIP premiums have tripled and even quadrupled due to uncertainty from COVID-19.

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.

“Given the situation, insuring a profitable price through WLPIP is a good business decision. Producers can’t afford not to have coverage,” said SSGA president Bill Huber. “Government assisting with premiums will make this necessary coverage more affordable.”

The Saskatchewan government will also fund the 40 percent provincial contribution to the AgriRecovery set-aside program, giving Saskatchewan livestock producers access to a total of $12.5 million. The federal government announced their 60 percent contribution to this program last week.

The AgriRecovery set-aside program will compensate producers for maintaining animals while processing capacity is reduced.

Huber said with uncertainty in the packing plants, this is an important step.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting processing capacity, livestock producers are
facing a serious price crunch this fall,” he said. “It is already costing the cattle industry $400,000 per day to feed cattle that normally would have been processed by now, and that number is growing every day as more animals go unprocessed.

“We are concerned because negative margins in the feeding sector and a backlog of cattle will wreak havoc with calf prices in the fall.

“We’re grateful to the minister and the government for participating in these programs and recognizing the importance of the livestock industry.”

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