New program aims to reduce agricultural pests

Programs in Saskatchewan, Canada, to reduce threats from invasive plants, animals, diseases

Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, producers and rural municipalities will have access to new programming to help reduce threats from agricultural pests with the new Pest Biosecurity Program.

“Farmers know that pests can be a significant liability to the environment and the economy,” said Lawrence MacAulay, minister of agriculture and agri-food. “This funding will ensure local programming exists to mitigate pest issues, helping Canadian growers protect their agricultural crops and keep their businesses strong.”

With $2.85 million invested annually from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Pest Biosecurity Program will be delivered in partnership with the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM). The program will create a network of Plant Health Officers across Saskatchewan, as well as provide three rebate programs to minimize the impacts of agricultural pests.

“Having a consistent approach to eliminating and recording pests across Saskatchewan will minimize the impact of agricultural pests such as invasive plants, rats, beavers and new diseases, such as clubroot,” said Lyle Stewart, Saskatchewan agriculture minister. “By joining with SARM, we’re ensuring producers across Saskatchewan will have access to the training and tools they need to protect their livelihoods and be responsible stewards of the land.”

Six full-time Plant Health Officers and six seasonal staff members in this network will work with rural municipalities and First Nations. These officers will provide training and support to ensure a consistent and proactive approach across the province. They will help monitor, survey and report on pests, prohibited plants, and noxious weeds in their divisions.

Three rebate programs

Three rebate programs are cost-shared up to 50 percent between rural municipalities and First Nations. The new programs are:

  • The Invasive Plant Control Program, which provides rebates to producers to subsidize the cost of chemicals to eradicate controlled, prohibited and noxious weeds, up to $500,000 per year across Saskatchewan.
  • The Rat Control Program, which replaces the Provincial Rat Eradication Program that was funded through Growing Forward 2. Funds in the first year will support the transition to the new program, and beyond that will supply bait rebates with rural municipalities and First Nations across Saskatchewan, to a maximum of $500,000 per year.
  • The Beaver Control Program, which will provide up to $450,000 per year in funding to focus on humane removal of beavers and will require licensed trappers.

“SARM is pleased to be awarded the opportunity to administer these programs,” said Ray Orb, SARM president. “Resolutions passed by SARM members continue to ask for more support, specifically for clubroot. SARM is hopeful that this programming will provide the assistance RMs need to proactively manage these pests. We will continue to work with the province to monitor the effectiveness of these programs as they are introduced.”