There was a time when agriculture dominated the provincial economy. These days the value of agricultural production is about the same as the value of mining. Total farm cash receipts, the money from selling grain and livestock as well as money received from government programs, totaled a record $9.4 billion in 2008. The Saskatchewan mining industry also had a record year in ‘08, particularly for potash, resulting in total production valued at $9.7 billion. The stats for 2009 are likely to see a setback. Many grain prices are not as buoyant as last year and most of the western half of Saskatchewan is facing the threat of drought. In the mining industry, lower sales numbers are also being projected, so it isn’t only agriculture that’s cyclical. Over the medium term, watch for agriculture to be a re-emerging giant in the provincial economy. Growing economies in China and India point to an ever-increasing demand for food from customers that have the money to pay for it. As the world economy comes out of recession, and as oil prices rise, expect to see renewed strength in grains. If the stars align as it appears they might, the province could see an agricultural renaissance. I’m Kevin Hursh.
Kevin Hursh, PAg, CAC