Leadership Candidate Ken Cheveldayoff Announces his Agriculture and Food Policy

Ken’s Vision for Saskatchewan is Prosperity and Promise for the entire Province.

Agri-food is a multi-billion-dollar sector in Saskatchewan's diverse economy, creating thousands of jobs, driving innovation & growth - and it's growing.

“In Saskatchewan we know our producers are the best in the world at what they do.  They need a government that continues to recognize and promote their work to access new markets around the world,” says Ken Cheveldayoff, leadership candidate for the Saskatchewan Party.  “Our producers are innovators and entrepreneurs.  They are national and international leaders.  It is important that they have all the tools they need to produce here and sell globally.”

In order to assist that growth in a sustainable way, Ken will work with all industry partners to:

1.  Add value to our food products,

2.  Grow our farm and food economy through innovation,

3.  Improve risk support programs, and

4.  Ensure food safety and sound environmental stewardship.

Full policy details are included in the Backgrounder, which follows, but, a sample of Ken’s policy initiatives include:

  • aligning provincial and federal goals and programs for increased results
  • improving infrastructure by co-ordinating transportation, communication, affordable energy inputs, water access, education, training, trade, immigration, taxation and environmental regulations
  • supporting innovation through ongoing investments
  • encouraging innovative ideas like northern and remote greenhouses and community gardens
  • finding more viable alternatives to participation in Agri-Stability
  • improving crop sustainability through Saskatchewan Crop Insurance incentives
  • providing premiums support for cattle and hog producers during market downturns
  • encouraging farmers to create and implement environmental farm plans through cost-sharing
  • supporting farmers who protect our valuable wetlands 

Proudly coming from a rural background, Ken champions the success of the Agri-Food industry as one of the hallmarks of the overall success of the province. 

 

BACKGROUNDER

Agriculture and Food Policy – Ken Cheveldayoff

The agri-food sector of Saskatchewan is a foundation for provincial growth. Saskatchewan Party Leadership candidate Ken Cheveldayoff will assist that growth by:

1.  Adding value to our food products

2.  Growing our farm and food economy through innovation

3.  Improving risk support programs

4.  Ensuring food safety and sound environmental stewardship

Agriculture in Canada is a shared federal-provincial responsibility. While Saskatchewan can take many initiatives on its own, it must also work to align government policy at the national level.

 

1. Adding value to our food products 

The Saskatchewan government has already established an objective to grow the province’s value-added food production from $3.5 billion today to $6 billion in 2020. To add value at this scale, our infrastructure including transportation, communication, affordable energy inputs, water access, education, training, trade, immigration, taxation and environmental regulations all need to be supportive.  

Saskatchewan government departments and ministries need to be pulling in the same direction and work with their federal counterparts. As well, provincial and federal policies need to be better aligned.

Saskatchewan innovators need world class high-speed communication technology and Ken Cheveldayoff pledges to ensure the availability of that infrastructure throughout Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan’s success in adding value to our products depends on trade. Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership’s success in growing existing markets and establishing new markets will continue. Supporting newcomer entrepreneurs familiar with food preferences in other parts of the world will help grow new markets for Saskatchewan food products.

Skilled workforce training for Saskatchewan people seeking careers in the agri-food sector is important, but won’t be sufficient to meet the demand. There is also a need to improve the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program by developing a referral program for newcomers already in Saskatchewan that know of available skilled workers from elsewhere. The federal nominee program allocation for Saskatchewan also needs to increase from the existing 5400 to 6000 per year. 

 

2. Innovation

Ongoing investments in innovation have paid huge dividends for agriculture and the entire province. Examples include the support provided for the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre and support for the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre. These initiatives need to continue with enhancements when possible. 

Ken Cheveldayoff’s commitment to increase internet speeds in rural areas will assist decision making and help reduce risks for farming entrepreneurs thereby speeding the adoption of innovation.

Ken also believes that by supporting greenhouse and community garden initiatives in remote and northern communities, it will be possible to create jobs while improving food availability and affordability for all regions in a sustainable manner.

 

3. Common sense amendments to farm safety nets 

Agri-Stability

Participation in Agri-Stability has dropped dramatically as producers have generally lost confidence in this complex income support program. As a result, Agri-Stability would not provide support for many farmers and ranchers even if there was a severe downturn in farm income that triggered payments. While Agri-Stability is a shared federal – provincial responsibility, Ken Cheveldayoff would work to scrap the program in favour of a more bankable and predictable approach. Some of the private insurance providers such as Global Ag Risk Solutions have interesting models that should be examined. 

Saskatchewan Crop Insurance

Saskatchewan Crop Insurance has continued to evolve and improve with governments sharing the insurance premiums. However, sustainable crop rotations should be reflected in premium setting. Seeding canola, lentils or any crop year after year on the same field is not recommended practice and can lead to disease problems that affect the entire sector. Government support for insurance premiums would be adjusted for fields continually reseeded to the same crop. 

Western Livestock Price Insurance Program (WLPIP)

WLPIP provides producers with protection against an unexpected drop in prices on cattle and hogs over a defined period of time. The program is based on market conditions and governments have only been responsible for the administration cost. Similar to the other farm safety net programs, governments should provide support to lower the premiums that livestock producers need to pay. This would increase participation and provide support for cattle and hog producers in the event of market downturns.

 

4. Ensuring food safety and sound environmental stewardship 

Many Saskatchewan farmers have gone through the process to create an environmental farm plan. Interest was spurred by providing cost-sharing on various projects including narrow seed openers and the cross fencing of pasture land. However, in most cases, environmental farm plans have been sitting on the shelf and haven’t been updated in many years. Producers should be encouraged to update and modernize their plans using new technology such as satellite imagery. Producers understand the importance of sustainability and public trust. Cost sharing on an approved environmental enhancement up to a contribution of $5,000 per farm would see many producers go through the time and effort of updating or developing an environmental farm plan. 

At the federal level, agriculture’s achievements in direct seeding, soil conservation, precision farming, and carbon sequestration need to be recognized in any carbon reduction plan. All Canadians need to better understand the ongoing improvements in sustainable agriculture being deployed.

Proper wetlands management is an environmental benefit. Farmers and ranchers shouldn’t bear this cost alone, nor should they be penalized for providing wildlife habitat.

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