SASKATOON — Saskatchewan cattle producers have voted to establish a fund that will insure payment in the event a livestock dealer doesn’t pay them.
However, just how the fund will work is still to be determined. The provincial government has amended legislation to allow for the fund but is looking to industry for direction.
A Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association working group tasked with examining the issue recommended mandatory participation with opt-out provisions. The levy would likely be 25 cents, at least initially.
However, those voting at last week’s SCA annual general meeting decided they preferred a voluntary fund.
The SCA board wants mandatory participation, and the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association also wants a fund, but with a refundable levy.
Doug Gillespie, who chaired the working group, said the levy could not be refundable under Saskatchewan’s legislation.
He said the program would have to be mandatory to start with to build it up to the $5 million the committee believes is necessary. Marketing 1.2 million head per year at 25 cents per head would generate $300,000 per year.
Alberta has had a program since the 1960s, which has paid five claims worth a total of $1.64 million, according to a discussion paper circulated at the SCA meeting. The fund has built to the point that the levy is only five cents per head.
Several producers in southeastern Saskatchewan lost more than $1 million about 10 years ago when an auction mart failed to pay them.