The balanced Saskatchewan budget is the envy of other provinces. It’s a good budget for farmers. After decades of injustice, the education tax on farmland has finally been addressed in a meaningful and sustainable way. As well, the Ministry of Agriculture budget is increasing by $177.5 million, a whopping 58 per cent. Most of the additional money, 87 per cent of it, will go into the business risk management programs of Crop Insurance, AgriStability and AgriInvest. Details on new federal – provincial Growing Forward programs should be announced in the next few weeks. This will include funding for a province-wide water infrastructure program. The main reason for Saskatchewan’s good fortune is potash revenues which now account for about 20 per cent of provincial income. PotashCorp has just issued more layoff notices even as it plans for longer term expansion. The company has a strategy of matching potash production to market demand. In other words, it has so much market clout that it can cut production and keep prices high. It’s ironic that Saskatchewan farmers are benefiting from PotashCorp’s ability to put the screws to farmers in countries that rely on potash fertilizer. I’m Kevin Hursh.
Kevin Hursh, PAg, CAC