The Sask. Party has helped improve the agriculture industry since it took office in 2007, by taking actions such as increasing crop insurance coverage levels and investing more in research, says the province’s ag minister.
“What our government has done is fundamental,” said MLA David Marit. Before 2007, crop insurance levels were below $70 per acre. Since then, coverage levels have increased every year to the point they are now at $230 per acre.
The provincial government has also done a good job of investing in agriculture research at the University of Saskatchewan, said Marit during a Rotary luncheon on April 1 at the Heritage Inn. He has toured the university several times and is amazed at the talented researchers from across the world working there.
Some of this research takes up to 10 years to produce results. For example, Marit noted one researcher is conducting experiments on barley. There have been only two types of barley strains developed in the last 30 years. This scientist is working on developing 1,200 strains of the crop.
Researchers are also working on developing a yellow pea variety with a higher protein value, which Marit finds amazing. Proteins in pulses are also being extracted and inserted into foods such as corn flakes and potato chips.
“It’s incredible what we’re doing there at that research centre,” he said, adding companies such as Nestle and Federated Co-op Limited, along with independent businesswomen from across Saskatchewan, are also producing food products with the help of the centre.
Another exciting initiative taking place is Ag in the Classroom, Marit said. This project gets farmers into schools to speak with students about what they do on the farm, what agriculture means to Saskatchewan and how food gets to the table.
Marit — a farmer himself — visited a classroom in Regina recently and answered all the students’ questions. He also asked every student if they had ever visited Agribition; every hand went up. Many of the students talked about the different animals they saw.
“So we really try and promote that,” Marit said. “We still want to work with industry to really build the public trust of what’s going on and what we’re doing. We really do grow the best (food) in the world.”
Saskatchewan farmers grew another record-breaking crop last year of 30 million tonnes, added Marit. While the weather negatively affected some areas of the province, the yields and quality were still good. This was the fifth straight year farmers produced such a bountiful harvest.