In 2023, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan released a couple of key reports one of which focused around the rising cost of food.
After a full year of study, consultation, and review APAS released its final report on 'Farmers and Food Prices'.
President Ian Boxall says the report indicated that food prices are not driven by the farm gate.
"I think the farmers share of the food dollar was an interesting study we did this year and seeing exactly how increased commodity prices affected grocery store prices. That was a lot of work that went into that report that we released here in December."
On the release of that report, he noted, that despite fluctuations in commodity prices, food prices and farm input costs continue to rise, challenging the notion that farmers are the cause of expensive groceries.
APAS worked with Kevin Grier Market Analysis and Consulting and examined eight separate consumer products to determine the farmer’s share of the retail price. Those products included flour, bread, canola oil, margarine, lentils, beer, retail beef, and retail pork.
The 'Farmers and Food Prices' report showed the difference between commodity and food prices.
According to the report in October of 2023, canola prices declined by 21 per cent, yet margarine increased 17 per cent. Wheat saw a 19 per cent decrease, yet flour and bread increased by four per cent and three per cent respectively. Barley decreased by 16 per cent, but beer surged by 19 per cent.
Another key project for APAS was the 'Livestock Summit Report' in 2023.
In April, APAS hosted a Livestock Summit bringing together academics, producers, and industry experts to work on identifying solutions to the challenges currently affecting livestock producers, encompassing cattle, bison, and sheep.
The report focused on identifying producer concerns about the future of the province's livestock industry given the challenges relating to drought, escalating production costs and the spread between the farmgate and retail food prices, along with the difficulty young producers face when trying to enter the livestock industry.
In releasing the report, Boxall says we have to work on identifying solutions, there a lot of great things in that report.
"We're just working on what are the next steps. What does the livestock sector need to succeed? And we're just working with other groups on determining what those are so we can get working on that."
Stats Can data shows a change in Saskatchewan's cattle herd, data shows that since January of 2021 the provincial cattle herd is down 90,000 head.
He notes APAS is committed to identifying the next steps to address the recommendations identified from the summit.
"Success for livestock producers translates to success across the entire province. Collaboration among agricultural groups is key to focusing our efforts and mutual support, leading to collective accomplishments. Ultimately, our shared goal is the success of agricultural producers."
The organization also did a strategic plan and started a governance review after 23 years to reset their foundation moving forward.
He says looking forward they'll continue to focus on key issues for producers including monitoring what's happening with the Grain Act Review.
"We'll continue to monitor the work at the CGC. We saw them try to push some stuff around this year that the producer groups and producers were not happy with. And thanks to a collective lobby, we got that change. So I think we'll continue to watch the Grains Act Review and the CGC. I think we'll continue to push for standardized grain contracts. I think that's something that producers have asked for and I think it's something that the industry needs."