Saskatchewan's cattle industry has been working hard over 2023 as more dry weather continued feed issues.

Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association President Grant McLellan talks about some of the obstacles they have faced over the past 12 months.

"The year I think started out with with optimism. Moisture levels seem to be reasonable and then of course, we were struck with another widespread drought. If you take a look at the drought map that was released for the Agrirecovery program, it captures almost the entirety of the province. We know it was spottier than 2021 but it's been a compounding effect in multiple years of insufficient moisture, and producers have really been challenged."

An increase in price has given something for producers to look forward to.

"The silver lining, of course, is the price of cattle going to market has been almost never been better. We've seen the market obviously decline slightly, but it's still pretty positive in terms of the returns that folks are able to get," said McLellan, "But we also know that the cost of inputs has gone up. So it's been a really challenging year.

McLellan says the SCA did a lot of work lobbying on behalf of beef producers to the provincial government.

That'll continue into next year with lobbying efforts towards the federal government among other work.

"I think you see it with the campaign that we're working on right now to advocate strongly for the removal of the carbon tax on all agricultural practices, some improvements to our business risk management programs," said McLellan, "In particular our forage rainfall insurance program I think was something we heard quite loud and clear at the drought town hall meetings that we had, it's really working to ensure we have a competitive and successful industry.

Managing stress is also a spotlight for the SCA with work being done in that area.

"We know that it's a stressful industry," said McLellan, "But we know that there are supports out there like the Farm Stress Line and the Canadian Mental Health Association, and it's really important."

"This is really a family industry, a family business in the agriculture and livestock sector. We need to make sure we're taking care of ourselves and our loved ones for sure and I think that's especially important at this time of year as we get together just to make sure everyone's doing OK and ask how people are."