September 15, 2003



Additional BSE Assistance for Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan government has unveiled an assistance package that will provide C$20 million to extend the bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease, recovery program and $20.8 million to support loans and cash advances.


"I will not stand by and let Saskatchewan producers go under because the federal government refuses to provide the support necessary to get our livestock industry through this crisis," Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert said in a statement. "Today I am sending the federal government an invoice for $12 million for their share of the program and Minister (Clay) Serby will be discussing the need for additional federal support at a meeting of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers of Agriculture on Sept. 22."


The package will enable producers to access $20 million in compensation for the balance of slaughter cattle on feed as of May 20, 2003, and make available through financial institutions access to $140 million split between a loan program for cows and cash-advance programs for backgrounders (weaned calves grown to feeder-cattle weight) and calves. Assistance for sheep, goats, bison and domestic game farm animals will also be available.


Serby, the Deputy Premier and the Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization Minister, said that providing this additional support will help carry the provincial livestock industry through winter.


"The U.S. border is partially open, and we have every expectation it will open to young live animals before the end of the year," Serby said. "But our producers need some help to ensure they have cash flow until the border opens further."
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