Sask. Opposition says livestock producers getting 'short-changed' when they take their products to market

According to Saskatchewan's Opposition, since March the price for ground beef is up 10 per cent, chicken breasts are up 11 per cent, chicken thighs are up 14 per cent, drumsticks are up 29 per cent and steaks are up 31 per cent in the province.  (Rachel Maclean/CBC - image credit)
According to Saskatchewan's Opposition, since March the price for ground beef is up 10 per cent, chicken breasts are up 11 per cent, chicken thighs are up 14 per cent, drumsticks are up 29 per cent and steaks are up 31 per cent in the province. (Rachel Maclean/CBC - image credit)

Saskatchewan's Opposition NDP says livestock producers in the province are getting short-changed when they take their products to market.

Meanwhile, families are walking past the meat counter at grocery stores because it's much too expensive, the Opposition says.

The NDP says livestock producers are facing hardships due to continuing droughts, but that inflation is also having a direct impact on the farmers and ranchers of the province.

"Beef prices, meat prices at the meat aisle and at the butcher shop have gone through the roof. But that hasn't correlated or tracked with the price for live cattle, which has stayed flat," said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP critic for agriculture.

"So costs are through the roof for cattle producers ... for livestock producers. The return is not enough, [it's] not fair."

The Opposition is calling for an investigation into skyrocketing food prices.

It's also calling for the creation of a special committee of the legislature to work with the federal agriculture committee on food prices. This would include investigating grocery and supply chain issues, meat processing and packaging, and food security in northern Saskatchewan.

David Marit, minister of agriculture, said during the legislative session in Regina Tuesday that the province has many programs in place that work for the benefit of the agriculture and livestock sectors.

He pointed to changes in the low-yield appraisal threshold, and to the province doubling its farm and ranch water infrastructure program.

Bryan Eneas/CBC News
Bryan Eneas/CBC News

During question period Tuesday, Wotherspoon said that since March, the price for ground beef is up 10 per cent, chicken breasts are up 11 per cent, chicken thighs are up 14 per cent, drumsticks are up 29 per cent and steaks are up 31 per cent in Saskatchewan stores.

"Why won't this premier commit to an investigation into and tackling these prices today?" Wotherspoon asked.

Neither the premier nor the minister of agriculture give a direct answer to that question.

Marit placed a lot of the blame on the carbon tax.

"The biggest challenge [Saskachewan producers] have right now is the carbon tax. The tax they have to pay for product going into the province, product going out of their farm and onto their farm and everything they do,' Marit said.

Meanwhile, Canada's Food Price report indicates that the average household of four will pay $966 more in groceries this year.

Saskatchewan is set to lead the nation in food price increases in 2022, according to the Opposition NDP.

"These record prices we know are not benefiting our ranchers and our producers," said NDP Leader Carla Beck at a news conference Tuesday morning, where she advocated for the creation on an investigative legislative committee.

"Saskatchewan families deserve to know whose pockets those dollars are going into."