Dry conditions across many areas of the prairies have had a major impact on farmers and ranchers
One province that has really taken a hit over the last few years has been Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association board chair Keith Day says they have been working with cattle producers to raise concerns with decision-makers about the challenges that the industry has been facing and continues to face.
"We are continuing to bring these issues forward by working with organizations like SARM and SSGA to ensure that the economic future of our industry is preserved. The agriculture sector is fundamental to the growth of Saskatchewan’s economy, and the livestock sector needs to be recognized for the outsized role it plays in protecting our environment while providing quality protein for a world facing a food crisis."
Cattle producers have been struggling with feed concerns as a result of the ongoing drought and it has taken its toll on producers profitability.
SARM 's president Ray Orb says for some producers they've gone through three to five years of drought and for some it's not over yet.
"The drought is definitely pushing some producers out, but others are getting out because they say that their return on investment just isn't there. They're just not getting enough when they sold their calves or whether backgrounding their calves, in the marketplace right now and that's unfortunate."
He says the safety net programs don't always work for livestock producers.
"We're hearing that in particular, Agristability is not addressing some of the some of the margin shortfalls that producers are facing."
Orb says young ranchers are struggling to get into the industry. and its all adding up with the ongoing vet shortage, low profitability, the fact that while retail meat prices may be high - producers are not getting paid their fair share.
Jeffrey Yorga, 1st vice president Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association says the last five years of drought have exposed some major cracks in the cattle business.
"The lack of business risk management tools, the lack of pricing transparency, and the rapid exit of aging producers threaten the very existence of the beef industry in Saskatchewan. Economics has sped the decline in cattle numbers, as well, the relative economic success in other sectors has turned the land from grass to annual crops ensuring that the cows won't return. While all indications point to better days ahead for producers who remain, the SSGA welcomes all industry partners to continue to work together to fix the problems that got us here so that when these situations arise the industry is more resilient and able to operate on the same footing as other commodity producers."
SARM, the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association and Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association say producers need to see support with better risk management programs, more rural vet clinics, irrigation, and consideration for a joint effort from our provincial and federal governments in cost-sharing premiums.