Sask. farmers brace for income decline
Agriculture Canada is predicting farm incomes in Saskatchewan will decline by 55 per cent this year over 2009.
Officials say net farm income for 2010 is expected to total $980 million, compared to $2.2 billion last year.
Saskatoon economist Richard Gray said the problem is supply and demand in the grain market.
"The world produced two incredibly large crops in a row," he said.
"We went from almost record low stocks just over two years ago to a situation where stocks are back to what people would call large again."
Gray said while the income drop is disappointing, farmers should break even if they get an average crop.
"Some farmers, anyway, are coming off a pretty good year, so this year will be a bit leaner, but it won't be a disaster."
Gord Wilson, who owns a farm west of Saskatoon near Kindersley, is optimistic.
"We've been at this game 35 years out here. I think … we'll survive."
Wilson said he's hoping to see a few good years so he and other farmers can pay off their bills and save some money.
Equipment helps speed farming
Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud said much depends on the weather, as spring seeding was delayed by snow and rain this year.
"There's very little of the crop in at this point, but boy, that can change in a week out there," he said.
"It's just newer and better equipment than we used to farm with and … they work long hours out there, but they cover so much more ground. To put a section of land in was a tremendously long process before, where now [with] the size of the equipment, they seem to go over some of that in a day."
Bjornerud said if the weather forces a further delay in seeding, the province will seriously consider extending seeding deadlines for crop insurance.