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At the same time (June 17-18, 1981) in Fort San, Saskatchewan, representatives and guests from the Saskatchewan Indian Agriculture Program (SIAP), were also celebrating the growth of the Saskatchewan farming industry at their third annual farmer meeting. This meeting, however, was directed specifically at the agricultural developments and accomplishments experienced in the Indian community and the ways in which SIAP has contributed to this development.
|Chief Frank Piche of La Loche, Saskatchewan is only one of ninty to register for the two-day Annual Farmer Meeting.|
Among the highlights covered from the 1980/81 fiscal year were an agreement with the Bank of Nova Scotia for equipment financing which will enable Indian farmers to finance equipment located on-reserve; revision of the SIAP policy manual; funding from the provincial government to assist with demonstration plots; and the commencement of what promises to be successful negotiations with the Saskatchewan Department of Agriculture for the provision of agriculture representative services.
Through their counselling to farmers and negotiations with the financial community, SIAP has also developed funding packages to benefit Indian farmers. These packages may entail the facilitation of individual loans, the provision of on-going financial advice to farmers and the involvement in discussion with various financial institutions throughout Saskatchewan.
|Even annual meetings can be humorous, as Ken Thomas (left) and chairman of the meeting, Gerry Starr (right) chuckle over something during recess|
Besides these added successes of 1980/81, the Saskatchewan Indian Agriculture Program continues to make available the individual counselling, training, educational facilities and the day-to-day contact needed to enable Saskatchewan Indian farmers to successfully meet the challenges facing today's farming industry. "Once again we've carried out a very successful annual meeting, superseded only by an even more successful year for the Saskatchewan Indian Agriculture Program", reflects Program Manager, Ken Thomas. "Over ninety Indian chiefs, agriculture representatives, farmers and members of the SIAP Board of Directors registered at the James Hall Auditorium in Fort San."
For two days, these registrants participated in discussions about program activities, reports or, training, and workshops covering such areas as finances on reserves; weed control; livestock; farm operations; partnership agreements; and IEDF agriculture loans. Key individuals from the Indian and agricultural community were also invited by SIAP to speak on these topics.
"These presentations were representative of the educational and training opportunities we've provided during the past fiscal year", says Thomas, "and consequently, they were very well received by the guests at the meeting."
A handshake and a painting from Ken Thomas shows
SIAP's appreciation to Dr.Gerry Gartner and
the Department of Agriculture
"Agriculture in Indian communities has come a long way since the days of the buffalo hunt," said the Deputy Minister, "and much thanks goes to members of the Saskatchewan Indian Agriculture Program for their major role in this achievement. Through their efforts over the past ten years, many Indian farmers in our provinces have received the necessary training and educational assistance which has enabled them to own and operate their own independent farming establishments. For this, we congratulate them."
Program Manager, Ken Thomas, responded to this address by presenting Gerry Gartner with an oil painting on behalf of the Saskatchewan Indian Agriculture Program. This gift, painted by Henry Beaudre of the Red Pheasant Reserve, represented SIAP's appreciation of Dr. Gartner and the Department of Agriculture for their continuing support over the years in the efforts of the program.