Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced last week a non-profit corporation comprised of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, Saskatchewan Cattle Feeders Association, Saskatchewan Horse Federation and Livestock Marketers of Saskatchewan will be taking on the services starting Jan. 1.
The new corporation is the Livestock Services of Saskatchewan (LSS) Corp.
“The advisory committee we appointed to examine industry-led delivery options for brand inspection has recommended this approach following thorough analysis and consultation,” Stewart said in a press release. “This is an important service and, as producers and industry are the primary users of brand inspection, it makes sense to transfer it to livestock organizations.”
The services, which ensure animals offered for sale are rightfully owned and verified through a brand registry, were previously provided in Saskatchewan through Ministry of Agriculture livestock inspectors. However, the province began searching for another option last year as it was found to be costly and less effective than it could be.
Brand inspecting in Alberta and B.C. are both run by third parties and Manitoba operates without brand inspection, making Saskatchewan the only province in the West that still had the services government operated.
Last year Saskatchewan charged $2 per head for inspection. But Alberta’s Livestock Identification Services Ltd. charged $1, and B.C.’s Ownership Identification Inc. charged about $1.60 per head.
“The livestock industry in Saskatchewan is a vital contributor to the economy, and brand inspection is an important safeguard to all producers,” said Mark Elford, Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association chair. “Livestock Services of Saskatchewan Corp. will be carrying on this important function on a go-forward basis, and our members are fully supportive of the new venture.”
The provincial government will continue to be responsible for legislation governing livestock inspection. Ministry staff involved with the services will move to LSS Corp. once it assumes the services, and the province reports it will work with the new organization to ensure a smooth transition.