REGINA – Today, Official Opposition Critic for Agriculture Trent Wotherspoon wrote to Agriculture Minister Dave Marit calling on the provincial government to take immediate action to protect producers who are unable to deliver the volume of grain to fulfill the terms of their forward grain contracts as a result of this summer’s devastating drought and that are now facing unreasonable penalties that could bankrupt them.
“This year’s drought has decimated crop yields in Saskatchewan, and many producers are simply unable deliver the volume of grain to meet the terms of the contracts they signed long before this year’s crop was seeded,” said Wotherspoon. “The provincial government has a role to play in ensuring protections are in place that will allow producers to carry their obligations forward to next year, and they also need to take steps to ensure that disputes between producers and grain companies can be resolved fairly and quickly.”
Specifically, Wotherspoon called on the provincial government to recall the legislature to pass emergency legislation that would ensure every producer who is unable to fulfil their contract this year would be able to carry over their obligation to future years without incurring unreasonable penalties. Wotherspoon also called on the government to work with producer groups to establish an independent grain contract arbitration board with producers representing at least 75% of the board’s members to quickly resolve disputes between producers and grain companies related to grain contracts.
“In the spirit of cooperation, we’re ready to get to work and do whatever it takes to protect producers who stand to lose everything as a result of this drought. We’re hopeful that the government will treat this crisis with the urgency and attention it deserves.”