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Sask. plans new office for AgriStability

Saskatchewan has confirmed it’s in talks to take on the delivery of its farmers’ federal/provincial AgriStability program by 2010.

Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud said Thursday that discussions are underway with the federal government on the matter. Details of the move are expected to be finalized “over the next few months,” the province said.

For Saskatchewan residents, dealings with the federal/provincial ag income stabilization program formerly known as CAIS will be moved to the head office of Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp. in Melville (pop. 4,600), about 140 km northeast of Regina.

Transition to provincial delivery of AgriStability will start in 2010 with processing of applications for the 2009 program year, the province said Thursday.

Moving Saskatchewan’s AgriStability administration to the province will mean about 110 new jobs at the Crop Insurance head office and 30 new jobs at Crop Insurance offices throughout rural Saskatchewan, the government estimated.

Saskatchewan would join Alberta, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec in delivering the program provincially, while other provinces’ farmers deal with the federal government’s AgriStability staff.

“By joining the AgriStability administration with Crop Insurance in Melville, we will deliver improved service to our producers,” said Bjornerud, who’s also the MLA for the Melville-Saltcoats riding in the province’s southeast. “This move will provide our producers with a more reliable and responsive program.”

Melville has been home to the Crop Insurance head office since 1987, when the Progressive Conservative government of the day sought to decentralize a number of government operations centred in Regina.

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