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Isolation an 'advantage' as Sask. ag industry stays strong amid COVID-19 pandemic

Reference: CTV News

SASKATOON -- Several businesses across the province have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with service and hospitality industries taking the brunt of it, but agriculture in Saskatchewan has generally remained strong.

Lee Moats owns a pulse farm in southern Saskatchewan and says there have been “relatively low levels of affect” on his business, which can be done without having to meet with a lot of people.

“A lot of the time we think about the isolation as a disadvantage, but it certainly was an advantage in this situation,” he said.

Moats was concerned about input supply when the pandemic began and took steps towards getting seed and fertilizer in place, while concerns about interruptions in transportation and handling of his crops didn’t materialize.

“In fact, I would say, to some degree in the movement side it was positive,” said Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture David Marit. “We saw the real movement of grain commodities hit records through May, June, and July.”

“It's nice to see that you know really for the most part of the ag side, we didn't see any drastic numbers on the COVID side,” he said, adding that the livestock industry did take a hit from the pandemic.

University of Saskatchewan economist Joel Bruneau believes the agriculture industry could help position Saskatchewan for a return to normalcy.

“Most of the job losses were in that services sector, of which, a big portion of that was food and accommodation, and year on year there's been almost no impact on agricultural employment,” he said. “You can think of this as sort of like a cushion underneath where the shock took place.”... Read More