By John Hauer P.Ag.
Regional Forage Specialist
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
As part of the Growing Forward 2, a Federal-Provincial-Territorial policy framework of agricultural programs announced last spring a new Farm and Ranch Infrastructure Program (FRWIP) has been announced. This program is designed to help producers develop secure water sources for agricultural purposes. The program also helps minimize the impact of drought and helps promote rural economic activity.
Farm and Ranch Infrastructure program targets four main components within the agriculture sector: On-Farm, Agricultural Business Development, Community Well and Irrigation District. Farmers, ranchers, First Nations bands, rural municipalities and irrigation districts across Saskatchewan are eligible to apply for funding to develop eligible projects.
In this article I will discuss the On-Farm component of the program.
As stated above the purpose of this program is to develop sustainable non-potable water supplies for agricultural use. Agricultural use means water for crop spraying, livestock watering or greenhouse production. Eligible projects include digging small-diameter and large diameter on-farm wells, and new or expanded dugouts. The expanded dugout must be at least one third larger than the original. The program will cover shallow buried pasture pipelines, deep buried pipelines and deep buried pipelines that connect to an established municipal water source. The program will cover remote livestock water systems provided it is for environmental purposes. The program will cover 50 per cent of the installation costs of the above projects.
The final two projects are protecting existing wells and decommissioning old wells. Protecting existing wells generally involves landscaping to build up the area around the well to prevent surface water collecting at the wellhead leading to possible contamination of the well. Also covered in the program is the purchase and installation of aboveground casing extensions and lockable vented well caps. The program covers 50 per cent of these costs.
Well decommissioning is the sealing and capping of old, abandoned water wells. These old wells can be a safety hazard as well as a direct contamination conduit into the water aquifer. The program will cover 90 per cent of well decommissioning costs. However the decommissioning must be done by a professional with expertise in well decommissioning.
To be eligible you must; be a Saskatchewan resident or file income tax respecting farm income in Saskatchewan, earn a minimum of $35,000 of gross farm income in Saskatchewan, and operate a minimum of 320 acres of farmland in Saskatchewan.
For more information on the new Farm and Ranch Infrastructure Program go to our website at www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca, call the FRWIP toll free information line at 1-877-874-5365, or contact John Hauer, Regional Forage Specialist, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture at the Kindersley Regional Office at 306 463-5507.