There's a lot on the agenda for the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association. 

Last week the group took a number of Conservative MP's from around the province to tour ranching operations in the North Central part of Saskatchewan to get a better understanding of the drought situation and some of the key issues facing producers and the livestock industry.

MPs Kelly Block, Gary Vidal, Kevin Waugh, Brad Redekopp and Rosemarie Falk visited with producers and toured the Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence.

Next week another group of Conservative MP's will tour ranching operations in the south.

SCA Chair Arnold Balicki welcomed the opportunity to focus on what's happening with the beef industry.

"We appreciate the time these MPs have given us to learn more about the cattle industry in Saskatchewan."

He adds it was a chance to talk about key issues like Canada's lack of preparedness with a foot and mouth disease vaccine bank in case of an outbreak.

"As you know our ask for a vaccine bank are $3.5 million. Whereas, if AAFC or CFIA chooses to do nothing, it is estimated that a foot and mouth disease outbreak in Canada will cost the Canadian economy upwards of $58 billion."

He notes Canada needs to step up it's game.  As part of the Canadian Cattle Association's Beef Industry Conference during the  bi-lateral and tri-lateral trade meetings the U-S delegation made it very clear they were not going to share any of their vaccine bank with anyone. So, Canada needs to step up it's game.

Federal Ag Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau this week announced the initial list of designated areas for the 2022 Livestock Tax  Deferral provision.

That list includes 38 RM's in Saskatchewan mainly along the southwest, western, and northwest side of the Province.

Balicki says it's a good start but feels it doesn't go far enough.

"You know, of course we welcome the feds announcement of the livestock tax deferral that's qualifying RM's, but you know at this point we can see where a lot of areas were missed. So we're looking forward to working with them and correcting those missed areas."

AAFC says the criteria for identifying regions for livestock tax deferral includes forage shortfalls of 50 per cent or more caused by drought or excess moisture. 

The federal government will continue to monitor conditions to determine if any other areas need to be added to the list.

And the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association is looking forward to welcoming their new CEO.

Balicki says Grant McLellan is coming on board to take over the role left vacant when Ryder Lee moved on to take on the role of General Manager with the Canadian Cattle Association.  

He says the board is looking forward to working with McLellan adding his prior work experience with the Provincial Government will prove beneficial for the organization as they move forward.

"We're pretty confident that his established relationship with government it will be a huge asset to us. And you know of course we're a little sad to see writer go we have established friendships and relationships with him but I think we're going to move on to a new year. A new leader that will build on the foundation that writers is leading this organization."

McLellan has worked in the Ministry of Agriculture and is leaving his role as chief of staff to Trade and Export Minister Jeremy Harrison to take on the CEO role Sept 12th.