Introducing our new president


"In 2022, APAS is looking forward to getting back together in person and rolling up sleeves to represent our members."
-Ian Boxall, APAS President

I want to start my first President’s message by saying thank you and congratulations to the past President of APAS Todd Lewis for his six-year term. It’s been an incredible run and I’m glad I was able to be a part of it from the Vice-President’s chair. Thank you for continuing to be a positive mentor and role model for everyone at APAS.

In 2021, farmers were hit with the worst drought seen in years. While many producers appreciate the amount of snow Saskatchewan has received in the last few months, more precipitation is still needed to help the soil moisture recover from such a harsh drought, especially in the southwest where the snow hardly covers grass in between the highway lanes. Producers were protected by programs like Crop Insurance, and governments recognized the impact of the drought and stepped up with Agri-Recovery for our cattle producers.

The pandemic and the drought have made clear that our current Business Risk Management programs need improvement, and those discussions are underway between the Federal and Provincial Governments. Farmers and ranchers need more predictable and timely disaster programming to make sure we can make the decisions we need to protect our businesses. In 2021, Producers looked to the sky in the spring, hoping, and in many cases, praying for rain that never came. The summer saw hot and dry conditions throughout most of the province, drying up fields and baking struggling crops. Any moisture that did fall was immediately soaked in by the thirsty earth, leaving little left for pastures, hay land, and crops.

Farmers are also struggling with high prices for inputs and a lack of available fertilizer and inputs for the upcoming crop year. Supply chain issues are impacting the availability of essential machinery, and parts for the upcoming crop year. We understand that the Federal government will be undertaking a review of Competition policies, and APAS will be getting involved in calling for more tools to monitor and correct uncompetitive behaviour.

As consumer food prices rise, there is an increasing disconnect between the prices that producers receive and the price at the cash register. It’s important to note farmers are impacted by these increases too when it’s time to buy groceries at the store. At the same time, weather events and logistical issues have been impacting some of our shipments to export positions. Given the small size of our crop due to drought, there are concerns that issues with delivery to port could develop with more volume to move next year. APAS will be carefully monitoring transportation issues in 2022. APAS also put pressure on businesses in the agriculture value chain to allow producers to revise contracts signed the previous season as many farmers and ranchers could have never predicted the drought that was on its way. Additional pressure was also placed upon grain elevators to eliminate administration fees and reduce penalties for the 2021-22 growing season. Despite these challenges, farmers remain optimistic for the spring seeding season. There are high commodity prices for farmers to take advantage of. There is certainly going to be an interest in locking in prices with a grain contract.

Contracts are important for both buyers and sellers. After 2021, it’s good to avoid uncertainty about the terms and conditions, and it is always a good idea to get legal advice when in doubt. APAS will be working closely with other agricultural groups in 2022 on a project to identify ways that grain contracts could be improved.

Some of the great work APAS is doing includes the ongoing Next Policy Framework Task Force. The APAS NPF Task Force has been heavily involved in discussing options for the next 5 year federal and provincial suite of farm program. Our Task Force released a discussion paper in February, laying out some possible directions to present to governments as they develop their next federal agriculture policy agreement takes shape on April 1, 2023. The APAS submission for NPF includes Business Risk Management, AgriStability, research investment, trade, and market development programs, and increasing agricultural exports to international markets.

APAS is also looking forward in 2022 to getting back together in person and rolling up our sleeves to represent our members. I look forward to being President of APAS for the next year and represent some of the greatest producers in the world for the rest of 2022.

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