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Ag Minister defends cutting pasture and shelterbelt tree program

Ag Minister Gerry Ritz says it's time to update programs
Reported by News Talk Radio staff
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Canada's Agriculture minister is defending the government's decision to put a pasture and a shelterbelt tree program on the chopping block, to save money.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says the programs to  were useful when they were created more than 100 years ago.

"Having said that, no one farms or produces the same as they did a century ago and it's time to take a long, hard look and refocus the energies and dollars of Agriculture Canada and the taxpayers of the country in what way best builds the future for producers," he said.

The shelterbelt program was originally created to reduce soil erosion by blocking wind.

Most of the 60 federal pastures in Saskatchewan would revert back to provincial control but Ritz said this may provide an opportunity for producers to buy the land.

Edited by News Talk Radio with files from Canadian Press