Sask. clears path for smoother program funding

Saskatchewan has eased the application process for some of its strategic initiatives under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership after a deluge of applications in the final months of Growing Forward 2.

Richelle Bourgoin, executive director of the agriculture ministry’s programs branch, said there were, for example, about 7,750 applications under GF2 for the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program.

“About 5,000 of those came in the last six months of the program,” she told the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association District 5 meeting in Stenen.

That led to processing delays.

Now, the province has posted a self-assessment checklist online that livestock producers should use to determine eligibility for water infrastructure rebates.

Bourgoin said some projects will require permits, but for those that don’t, the process has been simplified.

“If you do not (need permits), go ahead and do the work and send us the bill,” she said. “The process has gone from … in exceptional circumstances about 16 weeks to about five days and one piece of paper instead of multiple.”

Farmers who find they do need permits can access help from local watershed associations and ministry staff, she said.

For FRWIP, the income threshold to participate has changed from $35,000 to $50,000 under CAP.

The rebate amount has dropped from a maximum of $60,000 to $50,000.

“In GF2 only about two percent of the applications exceeded that $50,000,” Bourgoin said.

The rebate previously available for SaskPower hookups has been removed under the new parameters. Bourgoin said the reliability of solar systems is one reason for that change.

In addition to establishing or expanding wells, pipelines and dugouts there is money available for well decommissioning.

Bourgoin also outlined one of the new best management practices programs under the Farm Stewardship component of CAP.

Invasive Plant Biocontrol and Targeted Grazing will pay 50 percent of eligible costs, to a maximum of $40,000 per year, for small ruminant grazing on the following noxious weeds: leafy spurge, common burdock, Canada thistle, Russian knapweed, common tansy and absinthe.

It offers $5,000 per year for insect biocontrol on leafy spurge, scentless chamomile, Canada thistle, nodding thistle, field bindweed, yellow toadflax and Russian knapweed.

Meanwhile, the province has also teamed up with Verified Beef Production Plus for its Assurance System Producer Rebate under CAP.

“If you go through the process to take the training and audit through VBP+, ideally with certification, you’re eligible for up to $15,000 in rebates on equipment that improve outcomes for biosecurity and animal welfare,” Bourgoin said.

This is a change from the previous on-farm food safety program.

SCA chief executive officer Ryder Lee said many producers who go through the VBP process find they are already doing things that would qualify them for certification. And, many others are probably in need of upgrading things like squeezes, tilt tables and loading chutes.

“Here’s an opportunity to get 50 cent dollars,” he said. “It’s pretty easy to spend $30,000.”

Details about and applications for Saskatchewan’s CAP programs can be found at Saskatchewan.ca/CAP.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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