Sask. to match wildfire fund donations

The provincial government announced Nov. 16 it will match cash donations to the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association’s wildfire relief fund up to $100,000.

“Under these circumstances and following this unprecedented event, our government believes contributing financially to this fund is the best, most flexible and fastest way to help affected farm families in the region,” said government relations minister Larry Doke.

Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart is currently on a trade trip to Japan.

The SSGA fund has so far received about $65,000 in cash contributions and an estimated total of $250,000 worth of assistance such as feed and in-kind donations.

The organization will be collecting donations at its booth at Canadian Western Agribition next week in Regina.

The province has chosen to offer support outside of existing programs, saying most of the losses in the October fires near Burstall and Tompkins were insurable.

An estimated 770 cattle were killed and 85,000 acres of grass burned, along with fences and buildings.

In a news release the government noted it has also provided help with livestock burial, including grants of up to $10,000 to five affected rural municipalities to dispose of the carcasses.

It will help with range health assessments and grazing management plans through to next spring as the grass recovers.

And it is donating non-permit harvested hay from the Qu’Appelle Coulee Ecological Reserve to affected ranchers. People who have volunteered to haul hay through the SSGA fund are allowed to use their farm licence plates.

Eligible producers may apply for early access to AgriStability via a 2017 interim application.

Details of the SSGA fund can be found at www.skstockgrowers.com.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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