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Saskatchewan program to support hog and cattle producers

Saskatchewan hog and cattle producers will have access to a $90 million provincial short-term loan program early in the New Year.

The Saskatchewan Short-Term Hog Loan and Short-Term Cattle Loan Programs were announced Dec. 21 by provincial agriculture minister Bob Bjornerud.

The province estimates that hog producers will access about $30 million in loans and the cattle industry is expected to take up the remaining $60 million.

“This assistance program will help address the current economic condition these producers face,” Bjornerud said in a prepared news release.

Both sectors have been suffering from low prices, mainly triggered by the explosive rise of the Canadian dollar in recent months and very high feed grain prices due to the ethanol price boom in grains.

Bjornerud said the program won’t eliminate the pain producers are feeling, but that the program will help in a manner that minimizes trade risks.

The new program “provides a necessary bridge over these troubled waters until our industry returns to profitability,” said Sask Pork chairman Joe Kleinsasser in a separate release.

“We were invited to meet with the minister in late November and we are pleased he has responded in such an expedient manner,” added Bill Jameson, president of the Saskatchewan Cattle Feeders Association, also in a separate release.

Applications for the programs will be made available to producers early in the New Year. Deadline for applications is June 10, 2008 for the hog program and March 31, 2008 for the cattle program.

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