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Options for dealing with dry conditions

June 2019

The Government of Saskatchewan recognizes the challenges many Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers are facing due to dry conditions and is closely monitoring moisture, crop and forage conditions across the province. The information below outlines current options to assist producers through this period of dry weather.

Agriculture Crown Lands

Crown land lessees with excess grazing or hay resources may request permission to:

  • Sub-lease their pasture;
  • Graze non-owned cattle on the lease;
  • Harvest some or all of the hay on the lease; and
  • Sell hay from the lease.

These requests for permission should be made to your local Land Management Specialist at a Ministry of Agriculture Regional Office.

Conservation and Recreational Land

The Ministry of Environment has lands that may be available for grazing until Sept. 1 through the Fish and Wildlife Development Fund (FWDF). For information on submitting an expression of interest or a list of FWDF land by rural municipality, please visit Fish and Wildlife Development Fund grazing and haying opportunities or call 1-844-306-3933. Producers using these lands will pay the same amount as other Crown land lessees for grazing. They will be responsible for managing and monitoring livestock, as well as setting up and maintaining temporary fencing and any watering requirements that aren’t already established.

The Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport (PCS) has identified approximately 700-750 acres of park land that could be made available for grazing in an emergency situation. PCS takes into consideration that maintaining the forage available for wildlife is an important consideration with the provincial park system. There is the potential for livestock grazing in Douglas Provincial Park, Danielson Provincial Park, Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park, Crooked Lake Provincial Park and Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, however producers should be aware many of the areas require fencing, and do not have a water supply. For more information, contact: Dan French, Executive Director of Park Operations, Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport at 306-798-0181.

The Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) Business Risk Management Programs

Through the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Program, the deadline for seeding crops to greenfeed is extended from June 30 to July 15. Additionally, any active Crop Insurance customers, including those who have not previously endorsed greenfeed, are eligible to select and insure their greenfeed crop. Customers have until July 15 to select this endorsement and seed any cereal greenfeed crop.

SCIC recognizes the most pressing concern at this time is for livestock producers who are short of feed due to the dry conditions. If you are a customer in the Crop Insurance Program, you can use annual crop or tame hay acres for feed purposes. An adjuster will visit and set-up enclosures, or producers will be instructed to leave a check-strip, to conduct future appraisal. Bale feeders or a small fenced area can also be used for each enclosure. If a customer wants to use their annual crop acres for grazing or for livestock feed, they should contact SCIC.

Crop Insurance customers also have coverage should their annual crops suffer from the dry conditions. Producers can register a pre-harvest claim if they do not want to carry the crop through to harvest. If producers take their crop to harvest, but it has a reduced yield and/or a reduction in quality, they can file a post-harvest claim.

A reminder to all producers the deadline to enrol in AgriStability for the 2019 program year has been extended from April 30, 2019 to July 2, 2019. The AgriStability Program offers another option for producers to help manage the impact of current market disruptions and production challenges due to dry conditions. Coverage is personalized for each farm and enrolling is easy. All necessary information can be provided over-the-phone through a five-minute conversation.

The Western Livestock Price Insurance Program (WLPIP) gives producers the opportunity to purchase an insurance policy based on a forward market price for their cattle. As dry conditions persist, SCIC wants to reassure WLPIP policy holders they are supported when they are making their marketing decisions, such as selling cattle early. SCIC will work with each individual policy holder, who purchased calf price insurance or feeder price insurance this spring for settlement this fall, to ensure any challenges presented by dry conditions, including the 60-day continuous ownership criteria on WLPIP policies, are managed for the 2019 grazing season.

Those concerned about the dry conditions should contact their local SCIC office. SCIC staff is available to walk producers through their options and discuss claims, compensation and requirements. SCIC wants all customers to be assured the Corporation is working hard to ensure timely responses to their claims and inquiries. If producers have further questions, please call 1-888-935-0000 or visit Saskatchewan Crop Insurance.

Program Support for Water Development in Dry Conditions

There are two programs offered under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) to support the development of a secure and sustainable water source for agricultural purposes and help mitigate impacts of drought. Producers are encouraged to apply to the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program (FRWIP) and the Irrigation Program.

Using alternate feed and water sources

Specialists at any of the 10 regional offices across Saskatchewan are available for information on alternative feeding strategies, pasture management, assistance with water testing or interpretation of feed and water test results. Specialists can also assist with pathfinding solutions such as water pumping and moving equipment rentals.

If you require further information, please contact your local Ministry of Agriculture Regional Office, the Agriculture Knowledge Centre general inquiry line at 1-866-457-2377 or email Agriculture Knowledge Centre.

The Farm Stress Line

The Farm Stress Line is a confidential service, available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, toll-free at 1-800-667-4442. Calls are answered by Mobile Crisis Services Regina, a non-profit, community-based agency. There is no call display.

More information:

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