Saskatchewan farmers, ranchers and agribusiness operators have until the end of this month to let the government know how they prefer to receive advice and information.
Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart last week announced an online public survey on agricultural extension services. He said the ministry wants to ensure it is meeting farmers’ needs.
“We’re asking industry how we can better serve them and how we can increase what we’re trying to do in the first place and that is to increase the adoption of technology and research,” he said.
Stewart said extension services have to remain relevant and valuable or farmers won’t use them. He said staff hadn’t heard any complaints or suggestions, but the number of people who actually go to extension offices is small, leading to the question of whether the service is meeting needs.
“This is not about closing offices or laying off staff or saving money, necessarily, although we want to ensure that it’s efficient,” Stewart said. “It’s about providing better service.”
He said farmers are using private agrologists and online support, but he believes clients also are looking for third party, independent advice from government.
The online consultation is open until March 31. After that, the ministry will be conducting focus groups in Swift Current, Davidson, Weyburn, Yorkton, North Battle-ford and Melfort.
The survey can be found at www.saskatchewan.ca/public-consultations.