Sask. disaster plan to help cover storm’s livestock losses

A provincial disaster assistance program (PDAP) is expected help cover eligible producers who lost livestock in the blizzard that hit southern Saskatchewan last weekend.

Saskatchewan’s PDAP is meant to provide coverage to individuals and businesses who have suffered uninsurable losses due to a natural disaster in areas where a municipality has declared a disaster. The program is also meant to provide coverage if available insurance is not affordable.

“We encourage livestock producers to check with their insurance agent first to find out what kind of coverage they have for losses of livestock due to severe weather,” provincial Public Safety Minister Yogi Huyghebaert said in a release Wednesday. “Where insurance isn’t available, livestock producers can apply to PDAP for financial assistance.”

Livestock producers wanting to claim a loss through PDAP should contact their local municipal office to make sure their RM secures a disaster designation from PDAP, the province said.

Producers should use photos to document the dead livestock they intend to claim as a loss under PDAP due to the blizzard, the province said. The photos should identify the specific animals and the total number of animals lost.

It’s also important to note the time, date and location — for example, the legal land location — of the event, the province said.

Producers should also use “appropriate methods” for disposing of carcasses, the province said.

“Disoriented”

News reports following the blizzard included interviews with producers whose calves died in snowbanks or were trampled by other animals in the herd.

Cattle caught out in a significant storm event “cannot take advantage of the care provided” and often begin to wander in search of the care they are used to finding, North Dakota State University extension livestock specialist Kris Ringwall said in a column Wednesday after the storm hit that state.

“Having their daily routine and herd structure lost, they become disoriented,” Ringwall wrote. “The cattle can become lost because normal identifiable home points are missing, so they are driven with the wind, snow and rain.”

Even if cattle come up against a fence or other barrier, the first cattle to arrive at the barrier can be pushed by the weight of the herd behind them, so the fences give way or the cattle are crushed by the force of the herd, Ringwall wrote.

Saskatchewan producers wanting more information on PDAP criteria for livestock losses can call 1-866-632-4033.

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