A new federal/provincial deal will see a total of $485 million invested over the next five years to assist with sustainable agricultural projects in Saskatchewan.
The new Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) is a five-year, $3.5 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to improve competitiveness, innovation and resilience to the nation’s agricultural sector, a news release explained.
“It’s a way forward as we look at food security and how we support it,” said Gudie Hutchings, federal minister of rural economic development, during a press conference in Regina on Monday.
Federal programs account for $1 billion of the funding, while the remaining $2.5 billion is through cost-shared programs and activities by all three levels of government.
In Saskatchewan, $89.4 million will go toward strategic programming for farmers, ranchers and agri-business annually.
“What it really means is we have the opportunity to grow the Ag sector even further in the province of Saskatchewan,” Saskatchewans Minister of Agriculture, David Marit, told CTV News.
“We want to grow more product here, that’s our growth strategy. We also want to increase value-added processing here, but the big thing we want to do is make sure we’re doing it in a sustainable manner, too.”
Federal funding accounts for 60 per cent of the partnership while the province provides the remaining 40 per cent.
The province revealed that the funding would surround five key areas over the next five years.
- Building Sector Capacity, Growth and Competitiveness: $176.6 million investment to build the agriculture sector capacity, ensuring growth and competitive advantages.
- Climate Change and Environment: $53.4 million to support the long-term resiliency and sustainability of the sector.
- Resiliency and Public Trust: $40.2 million to support the sustainability of the sector by anticipating, mitigating and responding to risks while building public trust.
- Market Development and Trade: $2 million to assist industry in expanding domestic and international trade opportunities.
- Science, Research and Innovation: $175 million invested in research and development activities, enhancing the diversification and profitability of agriculture.
Additionally, $37.8 million will be allocated to support national activities such as AgriMarketing and AgriAssurance over the course of the partnership.
Marit said in the last year the province consulted stakeholders, including the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA), to help fine tune the programs.
SCA CEO Grant McLellan said the group brought forward ways to improve the current farm and ranch water infrastructure program. The renewed Sustainable CAP expands that program and increses the cap from $50,000 to $75,000.
“[The expansion] is really huge for our producers,” McLellan said.
“In particular the last few years where we’ve been experiencing drought in large swaths of the province, access to clean, reliable water is a huge boon for our members and our producers because ultimately we have to get that good quality material into our animals to get that good quality protein back to the people here.”
The partnership also enhances programs aimed to improve soil health and water quality, according to the province.
An estimated $3 billion in support is expected over the lifespan of Sustainable Cap.
Applications are currently being accepted for programs under the partnership, which is expected to last until March 31, 2028.