New Sask. co-op designed to help finance cattle, bison

Saskatchewan livestock producers have a new co-operative to finance purchases of feeder and breeder cattle and bison.

Saskatchewan Livestock Finance Co-operative Ltd. replaced the provincial government’s Livestock Loan Guarantee Program earlier this year. The government announced last year it would wind down the lending program that began in 1984.

General manager Terry Wensley said co-op staff are moving members over from the provincial program and enrolling new members.

About 900 producers participated in the province’s programs as members of 45 local associations.

“We were very successful,” said Wensley, who joined SKLF earlier this year after a career in the credit union system. “About 90 percent have joined the new co-op.”

New applications are also coming in.

Regional secretaries located in four areas of the province will help a small office staff in Regina.

The co-op has partnered with BMO as its lending partner.

“We did a comprehensive search and an RFP (request for proposal),” Wensley said of the selection.

He said the co-op will be very competitive in terms of interest rates.

“It’s designed for producers and by producers,” he said.

The cattle feeder loan is a one-year term requiring five percent down, while the cattle breeder loan is over five years and requires 10 percent down.

Bison feeder loans are an 18-month term with five percent down, and the breeder loans are repaid over six years with a 10-percent down payment.

The down payments will be held in an assurance fund for the length of the loan.

A 10-member producer board of directors leads the co-op. It will hold its first annual general meeting in Saskatoon in January.

Full details and the fee structure are all available on the co-op website at sklivestockfinance.ca.

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