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News Water and irrigation
Saskatchewan announces expanded program to finance irrigation infrastructure


June 3, 2021
By Greenhouse Canada

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Saskatchewan announced a change to the Irrigation Development Program that will allow producers to access up to $500,000 per applicant to finance irrigation infrastructure.

The maximum program payment per applicant was previously $300,000.

Each eligible applicant can receive the lesser of 67 per cent of eligible costs or $1,320 per irrigable acre developed. Saskatchewan agricultural producers who can demonstrate a minimum $50,000 of gross farm income in Saskatchewan in the year preceding or in the year of the application are eligible.

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This includes greenhouse producers who meet the eligibility requirements, says the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture in an email. “Greenhouse operations interested in developing new irrigable acres should contact the ministry’s Outlook irrigation support team at 1-306-867-5500 to discuss their project as there are a number of requirements for project eligibility.”

The program change was made possible by the additional $5 million investment in irrigation development that the government will make over the next two years.

“Increased irrigation supports the growth of diverse, high-value crops and will generate significant returns for our producers and our province,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said.  “This funding will provide more support for producers to develop irrigation projects and bring the sector closer to achieving our Growth Plan goal of adding 85,000 new irrigated acres in Saskatchewan by 2030.”

This additional funding for the Irrigation Development Program will support projects that are ready for construction to be completed in the next two years. The program increases irrigation capacity by helping finance the infrastructure required to bring a secure water supply to the edge of irrigable cropland.

This funding is in addition to the existing commitment under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) for this program.

For projects pre-approved, under construction or completed before April 6, 2021, the eligible applicant will receive the lesser of 67 per cent of eligible costs or $1,320 per irrigable acre developed, to a maximum program payment of $300,000.

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Pre-approval applications for Irrigation Development projects must be received on or before January 15, 2022.

In 2020, close to 10,000 acres were brought under irrigation as a result of the Irrigation Development Program.

“Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) welcomes the additional funding announcement that will further enhance irrigation development in the province,” SARM President Ray Orb said.  “SARM is pleased the province recognizes the need for more diversification and value-adding in the agriculture sector, in addition to the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Expansion Project that was announced previously.”

In 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan announced a $4-billion investment to develop water infrastructure around Lake Diefenbaker that will support the irrigation of 500,000 additional acres over the next 10 years and create a sustainable irrigation sector for decades to come.

Source: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture