SARM President Ray Orb says farmers are taking another hit with inflation and the high price of fuel, the cost of just trying to keep equipment running has jumped by about 100 per cent.
"This year, one tractor and air drill, which are used for seeding crops, would have cost that farmer an additional $1,500 a day to operate. The integrity of a farmers’ operation relies on running large equipment, which includes ranchers who will be bailing next month. Fuel prices need to be manageable, or we’ll soon be eliminating the small farmers as well as young farmers starting their operations because no one can account for rapid fuel inflation."
Orb adds with farmers heading out to spray, the rise in fuel prices will be felt even more.
"If you’re a small family farm operation, you’re looking at an additional $1,000 a day to fuel equipment this year, if you’re a larger operation upwards of an additional $5,000 a day; those are astronomical financial increases.''
The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities has been advocating for farm exemptions from the federal carbon tax, as well as a meaningful carbon offset program for producers to help shelter them from some of the added burden.
Orb says the recent, and multiple, fuel increases have left Saskatchewan farmers with a discouraging outlook on this year’s growing season.
SARM is calling on the Province and Ottawa to look at providing immediate relief to the rising fuel costs.
There's been lots of discussion around the rising fuel costs during this week's Division meeting.
SARM's Executive team are travelling the province meeting with members to discuss key issues of concern.
Orb says they've discussed a number of issues from the rising fuel costs to drought, community planning and rural crime.
"The RCMP are saying, according to the statistics they have, that the crime rates have actually dropped a bit, and that's really pleasing for SARM. We've been involved with creating more Rural Crime Watch groups around the province, and also instrumental in creating a provincial wide Rural Crime Watch Association. So we're hoping that those things are starting to help."
He says they also get a lot of questions around the environment noting that people are concerned and rightly so, but that agriculture shouldn't be adversely affected by what's happening in the environment, or vice versa.