PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Looking Ahead to the Next 20 Years


APAS celebrates two decades of advocating for Saskatcheawan agriculture


Written by Todd Lewis

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Looking Ahead to the Next 20 Years


APAS celebrates two decades of advocating for Saskatcheawan agriculture


Written by Todd Lewis


PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Looking Ahead to the Next 20 Years

APAS celebrates two decades of advocating for Saskatcheawan agriculture


Written by Todd Lewis

Many miles were travelled, many meetings were held, and many days of farm work were taken over by family members as our founders worked to get APAS off the ground.

In 2020, APAS is celebrating our 20th year. Our organization began to take shape in the fall of 1999, at a time when agriculture was facing a very serious income crisis.

Producers were having a hard time getting governments to recognize the impacts of poor growing conditions and low prices caused by international trade wars, and some of them decided to found an organization to promote our industry.

Producers saw the need for an organization to provide a united provincial voice on agricultural policy on behalf of farmers and ranchers. These pioneer members worked hard to build support and APAS was incorporated in July of 2000. Our first General Meeting was held that December with representatives from 80 RMs. Many miles were travelled, many meetings were held, and many days of farm work were taken over by family members as our founders worked to get APAS off the ground.

In this 20th anniversary issue, APAS pays tribute to the men and women who put their hearts and souls into building our organization, and celebrates the hard work and achievements of hundreds of dedicated APAS Representatives since 2000.

Over the years, your voice as Saskatchewan’s agricultural producers has continued to be heard because of those pioneers, and our current Board and elected Reps continue to set our priorities based on grassroots input from Saskatchewan producers.

Many of our active Reps have brought years of experience on RM councils and in other agricultural organizations to their work with APAS. They have brought their skill sets in practical problem-solving and in finding and proposing solutions, instead of just complaining. This “can do” attitude has made all the difference in our approach with provincial and federal governments. As we head into elections for our APAS Reps this November, I would like to offer our sincere thanks to retiring Reps for their dedicated service.

APAS continues to offer up solutions, and in preparation for the upcoming provincial election we have packaged up proposals for the political parties on ways to build on the successes of Saskatchewan agriculture. We will engage with candidates and parties during the campaign and will continue to promote these key issues over the term of the next Legislature.

This year has made it very clear that agriculture is the engine of our provincial economy. While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a severe financial downturn in other sectors, agriculture has held its own during 2020. We have been hard at work and our products continue moving to world markets, generating billions of dollars in economic activity, and supporting one in every eight Canadian jobs. Saskatchewan agriculture is a Canadian success story.

Todd Lewis speaks to APAS Representatives at a 20th anniversary event in July 2020.

In a time of uncertainty, it is always good to look at what is working right. With empty store shelves earlier this spring, the pandemic may have been a wake-up call to urban consumers about how our food supply chain can be impacted by major events. It also demonstrated the resilience of agricultural producers and businesses in ironing out those problems and keeping Canadians supplied with food.

The food industry had major challenges with the shift from restaurants to meals at home, and many adjustments were needed to get things right.

We also saw impressive performance from our transportation industry in both getting our inputs and supplies delivered in time for production season, and in shipping our products to market. Hats off to our railroads and truckers.

As we wrap up harvest and look back at all the challenges, many of our producers are thankful for Canada’s crop development and public- and farmer-funded research systems. Despite several difficult growing seasons, we still have managed to pull off crops with yields and quality that would surprise our grandparents.

Governments have laid out ambitious plans for increased production and economic growth, and our system has responded to meet that challenge. As we go forward, we need to make sure we recognize the value of public investment, producer contributions, and the needs of growers in crop and variety development.

Producers also have noted some shortfalls in our infrastructure, and we are highlighting the importance of improvements.

Shortcomings in rural connectivity through cellular and internet coverage are hampering everyday life and our ability to do business in rural Saskatchewan.

We also need improved access to natural gas and three-phase electricity as the scale of farm business expands.

There are demands for our industry to continue its expansion to drive economic growth. We are happy to do our best, but as producers we need society to accept a share of the increased risk in order to provide the shared benefits that everyone enjoys from that growth. We need to make sure our young and beginning producers have the programs they need to take over and succeed.

The next 20 years will have as many challenges as we’ve seen since 2000, and I am confident that APAS will continue to represent our sector through good times and bad.

Todd Lewis farms in Gray, SK.

This year has made it very clear that agriculture is the engine of our provincial economy. While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a severe financial downturn in other sectors, agriculture has held its own during 2020.

2000

The original APAS logo.

2020

APAS celebrates 20 years.

Learn more about APAS