Ag ministers skipping the Ag in Motion booth leaves Saskatchewan ranchers dissatisfied

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Ag ministers skipping the Ag in Motion booth leaves Saskatchewan ranchers dissatisfied.

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An exciting moment vanished in an instant.

The proprietors of Norheim Ranching learned in April that the provincial and federal agriculture ministers would be paying them a visit during the Ag in Motion farm show close to Langham.

Lee Norheim and Chelsea Norheim started months of planning on what they would discuss during the 30 minute conversation.

However, according to Chelsea, they were never given the opportunity to speak with the ministers during the show.

We waited and waited and there was nothing, but then we did see them getting close to us. "We expected them to be late — because you know how things go at trade shows — and we're waiting and waiting and there's nothing. They were not informed that the ministers would not be stopping at their booth, she added, adding that they suddenly vanished.

Norheim continued, "We would've liked simply even a heads up: 'Hey, we're not going to be able to stop by, but we would like to chat with you later or see you at an other performance,' or something like that.

It was irritating, according to Norheim, because they like to be organized and spent a lot of time planning out what they would speak in order to avoid wasting the ministers' time.

She claims that because cattle production is under a lot of stress, they wanted to have a meaningful discussion about what is happening in western agriculture.

Due to many of the current environmental discussions, Norheim said, "We feel like we are being vilified for things that shouldn't happen. I think that a lot of the things we sell and the people we deal with was going to provide a really good opportunity to maybe put some more light on some of the things they need to consider.

She emphasized that although cattle aren't going to harm the environment, how they are handled and fed affects any environmental measures that are being attempted.

She said she didn't want to talk politics, but if the ministers don't have these discussions, the policy they develop won't be accurate in capturing what is actually taking place.

Even though it was disheartening, Norheim said she wanted to let the ministers know that anyone in the business would be pleased to answer any questions.

According to the office of federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, her initial trip into Saskatoon was canceled. She arrived in the city later as a result, which affected her schedule.

The office stated that Bibeau was following the example set by the event's planners and the provincial government and expressed regret for any individuals who had been left out.

The Norheims weren't on the final list of booths to be visited, according to an agenda emailed late Thursday from the office of Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit.

Norheim spoke with Ag in Motion organizers and learned that plans had been adjusted at the last minute, but she feels that it would have been polite to inform them beforehand. She claimed that if the ministers had visited the ranch at a different time, she would have been delighted to receive them.

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