Horn levy reviewed

Saskatchewan Agriculture is polling cattle industry organizations to find out if the market deduction for horned cattle is still necessary.However, agriculture minister Bob Bjornerud said that does not mean the government will eliminate the Horned Cattle Purchases Act and the fund that it creates.“It’s not a foregone conclusion,” he said.The decades-old legislation requires that livestock dealers deduct $2 for each animal that comes to market with horns, less three cents commission.In 2002, the legislature passed amendments that raised the deduction to $10, but the bill was never proclaimed and the increase never applied.Bjornerud said he’s not about to do that now.“They have enough deductions right now,” he said of cattle producers.The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association was among the first to be consulted about the fund. A recent opinion piece in its magazine said its members want the deduction to stay and criticized the ministry for failing to consult others.Bjornerud said the consultation has just begun and was prompted by an overall review of all legislation and regulations.Alberta has not had a horn deduction for years, but Bjornerud said that province didn’t notice an increase in horned cattle going to market after the deduction was eliminated.The deduction is supposed to be incentive for producers to remove horns before cattle are sold. Horns can cause bruising to other animals, particularly in a feedlot or during transport, and cause millions of dollars in carcass damage.The deduction should bring in less money over time if the incentive is working.The deduction collected $75,000 in 2008-09, compared to $110,000 in 2002-2003 and $216,000 in 1990.The fund also earns money from an agreement with the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute, which uses the fund’s cattle herd. Under the agreement, the fund receives any sales proceeds from this herd.The original herd totalled 300 head but has since dropped to 99 head.A committee allocates the fund to research projects at the University of Saskatchewan, the Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan and other organizations. It has administered grants worth $90,000 in the last year.

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