Sometimes in life there are events that happen that just unfold unexpectedly and it changes your whole day. As some of you probably noticed, my Monday Morning Commentary did not appear at the usual time. Twelve days ago, our 2 dogs – a purebred Border Collie which we use to work cattle with and my purebred English Pointer which is my bird hunting dog – both went missing. After a few days you naturally begin to expect the worst. Joanne and I have spent many early mornings and evenings driving the countryside looking for these two mutts. After another fruitless search because of a tip we were given on a dog sighting in the morning, we received a phone call out of the blue which reunited us with our 2 sorry-looking, tick-covered and very hungry dogs. You don’t really know how much you miss them until they are gone. Needless to say, Joanne and I are very, very grateful to the individual who lives 10 miles west of us that saw the dogs, brought them to her place and notified us to come and get them. For once, a happy ending to what everyone assumed would be a sad summer.
Speaking of good news, the announcement this last week by Yara, the large Norwegian fertilizer company, that they will be doubling the size of their plant at Belle Plaine, Saskatchewan is good news for the taxpayers of this province and certainly for farmers. This is the former Saskferco plant that was built by a PC government in the late 1980’s and early 90’s. Yara has seen the potential of this plant and its location in North America and are building onto the dream that this plant has been for Saskatchewan. This is true value-adding of our resources. It manufactures products which are used locally and across North America. It provides long-term, good-paying employment in the Moose Jaw and Regina areas and has been a constant contributor of taxes and royalties to the government of Saskatchewan. This expansion should have happened many years ago but the former NDP government chose instead to treat it like a cash cow and simply take the money rather than build on the PC dream.
Yara has indicated that they need the co-operation of the Sask Party government to make this expansion a reality. They are not asking for the taxpayer to cover the upfront costs like the potash industry but seem to be asking for reasonable considerations with utilities and some taxes during the construction phase. This plant will be a part of Saskatchewan’s economic foundation for many years to come. There was a very real possibility that Saskatchewan and western Canadian farmers were going to run short of nitrogen fertilizer this spring and so would not be able to maximize their returns from good commodity prices.
As most of you are aware, Saskatchewan is planting what should be our all-time record canola crop this spring. Both the domestic and international demand is there to handle the volumes of canola which will be produced. Canola is a huge user of nitrogen. If we are going to supply the new crushing plants that were built at Yorkton and the other plants that are around Saskatchewan and western Canada we must maintain these large volumes of canola. Yara is to be congratulated for recognizing this need and doing their part to ensure that western Canadian farmers have adequate supplies of nitrogen fertilizer and that there is more than one company providing the product and making sure there are competitive prices available to farmers. Let us hope that the Saskatchewan government also understands this necessity. There is more to life than just potash.
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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.