The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities Annual Convention got underway in Regina yesterday.

President Ray Orb addressed the economic challenges people are facing noting that every family in this province is feeling the pinch in their household budgets. 

"The cost of food and fuel have been hit hard with inflation. Producers are hurting and in turn, consumers are too. Saskatchewan has long been a safe, self-sustainable province, meaning we utilize everything we produce and seed on our kitchen tables. That's why now more than ever, it's time to clearly unify our goals so we can keep building healthy, sustainable and safe communities. "

Orb says to do that we need the commitment of government support, both provincially and federally.

There needs to be support for producers to figure out how to reduce nitrogen emissions while still increasing agriculture exports from 55 to 85 billion a year.

" Support to deal with ineffective policies that insist that agriculture producers find solutions to reduce their carbon footprint, even though the technology required to convert an entire farming operation to renewable energy - doesn't yet exist."

Cypress Hills-Grasslands MP Jeremy Patzer addressed SARM delegates crediting Orb and his team for their commitment to bringing Saskatchewan issues to light in Ottawa.

One of the issues Patzer and his party have been working on with SARM is the push for improved rural broadband service.

"It's something that we need to keep bringing up over and over again until it finally gets done for the people living in small towns or out in the country. You guys are the ones who need the most help with getting fully connected to reliable Internet that works."

Patzer noted having access to rural broadband can also help smaller communities grow and develop.

Another key issue for SARM has been their opposition to the Federal Carbon Tax.

Yesterday, delegates heard NDP Opposition Leader Carla Beck address the issue.

"We, as the Saskatchewan NDP, were the first to put forth the motion in the legislature opposing the federal carbon tax carve out for those provinces using heating oil while leaving the tax on the rest of us who use natural gas and other fuels like propane. For me, this is a matter of straight-up fairness."

Beck also talked about the importance of government to stay in touch with the people and their issues of concern.

Today delegates will hear from Premier Scott Moe and have the opportunity to question cabinet ministers during the Bear Pit session.