Agriculture Minister David Marit announced $70 million dollars for livestock producers dealing with the drought and the increasing cost of buying and transporting feed while trying to maintain their herd.

Funding will be delivered through the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation and allows eligible producers to receive up to $80 per head to maintain breeding stock.

Marit says it's pretty well covered in this one they did all breeding stock including bulls and replacement heifers.

"Virtually the same as we did in 2021, only this time we also included horses and we included cervids as well."

The payment per head for beef cattle, bison, and horses is up to  $80 per head, $40 per head for elk, and $16 per head for deer, sheep, and goats. 

Payouts will be based on receipts or appropriate documentation for extraordinary expenses for the purchase of feed or transportation of feed or livestock, to provide cash flow to eligible producers impacted by significant drought. 

Producers in some areas of the province are dealing with drought, particularly in western Saskatchewan where rainfall has remained well below normal.

For some producers, this is a multi-year drought with the lack of precipitation resulting in poor growth and recovery for pasture and forage stand.

Marit says immediate measures are needed as farmers and ranchers deal with significant challenges due to drought.

"Our government is committed to ensuring livestock producers have the support they need, as they continue to provide the high-quality food Saskatchewan families rely on."

Reaction to the funding announcement has been positive.

Keith Day, Board Chair of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association says they appreciate the province stepping up and providing their portion of the AgriRecovery payment. 

"We look forward to a similar announcement from the federal government to provide their funding to ensure our producers get the help they need through these challenging times."

SARM president Ray Orb says the support is promising, and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) is thankful for how quickly the province stepped up to assist those livestock producers most in need, it will certainly help.

"We are confident that the federal government is working together with the province to assess how they can provide additional support through AgriRecovery and look forward to seeing what that much-needed assistance will be."

Additional information including application forms will be available in the coming days at SCIC or call toll-free at 1-800-723-1211.

The province is continuing to work with the federal government to jointly examine how AgriRecovery could help respond. 

On Monday, the Federal Government announced the 2023 Livestock Tax Deferral list - the initial list includes 98 RM's in Saskatchewan.

Ottawa also announced a one-year adjustment to the AgriInsurance program in Saskatchewan to make more drought-damaged crops available for feed. 

The province notes other support measures have been implemented to help mitigate the situation.

"The Governments of Saskatchewan and Canada have agreed to increase the 2023 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage from 50 per cent to 75 per cent, so producers can access a larger portion of their final AgriStability benefit early. The AgriStability compensation rate also recently increased from 70 to 80 per cent. In July, the federal and provincial governments announced SCIC was doubling the low yield appraisal threshold values to allow additional acres of cereal, pulse, canola and flax crops to be diverted to feed. Saskatchewan has also frozen the 2023 rate charged to producers who lease Crown grazing land. Additionally, through the 2023 Crown Grazing Lease Rental Reduction Program, lessees may be eligible for a rent reduction due to the impact of drought."