Wildfire-damaged grazing areas up for Saskatchewan aid


Saskatchewan’s provincial disaster assistance program (PDAP) will be opened up to cover southwestern grazing areas damaged by this fall’s wildfires.

The province’s government relations minister, Larry Doke, on Wednesday announced producers who incurred wildfire damage on “tame and native lands” intended for grazing may now apply for assistance to get feed for affected livestock.

Winds of over 100 km/h around Oct. 16 fanned over 40 wildfires in the province’s southwest, affecting around 89,000 acres of mixed-use farmland and forcing the evacuations of about 1,200 people from their homes.

PDAP, the province said, will assist with “extraordinary” feeding costs, and with transportation costs associated with extraordinary feed and/or pasture rental. Eligible costs must be supported by receipts.

Damage to the actual pasture land is not eligible for assistance, the province said. Insurable losses, such as death or illness of livestock or damages to fences, buildings or bales, are not PDAP-eligible.

“Typically PDAP does not provide assistance for wildfire losses, because most fire losses are insurable,” Doke said in a release. “However, tame and native grazing lands are not insurable.”

The program adjustment, he said, “will fill that gap and provide Saskatchewan producers with additional peace of mind, and help ensure that operations affected by wildfire can recover sooner.”

PDAP is meant to help residents, small businesses, farms, First Nations, non-profit organizations and communities recover from natural disasters, by helping to cover the costs of uninsurable essential losses, cleanup, repairs and temporary relocation.

PDAP is considered a “last resort” program, not meant to compete with private insurers or to provide full compensation for substantial losses. Damages must have occurred in a municipality designated as eligible for PDAP assistance. Other PDAP eligibility criteria for 2017 are listed online.

“The majority” of damages from this fall’s fires in the province’s southwest were insurable, the province said Wednesday, but stakeholder consultations found “some types” of grazing lands could qualify for assistance.

The province reiterated it will also match donations up to $100,000 made to the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association Wildfire Relief Fund, which was set up to help affected producers. More information on the fund, including application, nomination and donation forms, is available online. — AGCanada.com Network

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