Mother Nature's forced the hand of the Saskatchewan government as they announced yesterday some relief packages for producers in the province.

One of the announcements allows producers with low yields to turn their crops into feed and the other helps producers with the costs related to dugouts, pipelines, and wells.

Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit said the current conditions have taken a toll on the province's agricultural sector and they're hopeful the relief will help producers make it through the tough times.

"We know the situation is already having an impact on the industry, our people, and our communities," he said. "The continued lack of moisture combined with a hot temperature last week has resulted in significant damage to many of the crops in the province. Yield potential and crop quality will be impacted in many regions, livestock operations are also being affected."

The Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) is doubling its low yield appraisal threshold for producers that want to use their cereal or pulse crops for feed.

"SCIC is working with customers to ensure damaged crops intended for harvest can be put to an alternative use such as silage, baling, or grazing," he said.

Due to the drought, the province has also altered the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program for dugouts, wells and pipelines. Currently, the program offers a 50-50 cost-share between producers and the government, but that will be temporarily increased.

"For the period April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, the maximum rebate for livestock producers will triple," he said. "The first $50,000 will be based on a 50-50 cost-share basis and the remaining $100,000 will be on a 70-30 government-producer cost-share basis."

The province has also reached out to the federal government to have all of Saskatchewan designated through the Livestock Tax Deferral program, for all Saskatchewan producers who may need to sell off part of their livestock operations.

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