Budget 2024: Increased funding for Ag Ministry to support risk management programs & research

Agriculture is getting a boost as the 2024-25 Provincial Budget, released Wednesday afternoon, increases funding for the Ministry by 4.1 percent to $570.6-million.

Expenses for the Ministry of Agriculture for 2024-25 will be $1.5-billion.

The Budget invests in programs, including a suite of business-management programs, services, and agricultural research.”Our province’s agriculture sector is the backbone of our economy while helping to feed the world through sustainable crop and livestock production,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said in a news release. “Our investments in this year’s budget support the continued competitiveness and strength of the sector.”

A large chunk of Ag Ministry’s Budget, $431.7-million, will fund federal-provincial risk management programs such as Crop Insurance and AgriStability. This represents an increase of $23.7-million from the previous year. Average Crop Insurance premiums and coverage for 2024 are down due in large part to a decline in insured commodity prices. The average coverage is $389 per acre and the average premium is $12.71 per acre, but it may vary for producers based on their production records and claim history. 

The Budget also mentions previous announcements of Crop Insurance weather-based programs enhanced with 38 more weather stations for a total of 224 stations across the province, and options to insure intercrops and additional mixed feed crops, as well as 2024 Crown Land Grazing Rates staying at 2022 rates. The province also says “producers who must reduce their stocking rates on Crown grazing land due to drought will be eligible for a lease discount.”

In addition, $89.4-million will support initiatives under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP), including the Irrigation Development and Irrigation Efficiency Programs that will help develop new irrigated acres and support improved energy and water efficiency of existing programs. The province noted 55-thousand new irrigated acres have been developed since 2020, nearing its Growth Plan target of 85-thousand acres. But that target will be exceeded with last week’s announcement of phase one of the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Expansion Project which is expected to add around 90-thousand irrigated acres. Phase one costs about $1.15-billion.

$38-million is allocated to research in the ag sector, including institutions that conduct state-of-the-art research in the province, “project funding, and programs that promote the implementation of new technologies” according to the provincial government. 

Despite the dry weather and lack of soil moisture last year, producers were able to harvest about 31-million acres and exported $20.2-billion in agri-food products.

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