After a tough growing season, many producers are stuck in an uncomfortable spot as grain contracts that they had signed at the start of the year need to be fulfilled.
Oftentimes, an inability to fill these contracts can result in large fines toward the producer, which can result in a heavy dent in their operations finances and even bankruptcy.
That's why Trent Wotherspoon, the NDP's critic of Agriculture, Finance, and Crown Corporations is calling for more involvement from the government on these contracts.
He says that these contracts could be costly for producers.
"We've got producers across Saskatchewan that simply aren't in a position to be able to fulfill the volume of grain that they're obligated to within their grain contracts," said Wotherspoon, "They're really in a terrible bind in many ways, and facing penalties that could force many into bankruptcy."
One of the first suggestions that Wotherspoon put forward was allowing farmers the ability to carry forward the amount of grain they're obliged to provide for the next year.
He says that such a change would allow farmers to fulfill the contracts while avoiding the possibility of unfair penalties.
"We know that some producers and some grain companies are working in a real fair and reasonable way with producers and allowing folks to carry forward obligations to next year without unfair penalties," said Wotherspoon, "But we're calling for a standard across Saskatchewan because that's not the case in many situations."
Wotherspoon also suggested the creation of an independent grain contract arbitration board which would work to quickly solve disputes between producers and companies.
The board would be mainly focused on more critical periods such as the producer's current situation and would be represented by at least 3/4 producers.
Wotherspoon says the board would be more reactive to the current drought, rather than something that producers would be a part of year-over-year.
"I think the way producers are envisioning it, I've been working with lots of producers on this one," said Wotherspoon, "Is that it's an emergency board in response to the devastating drought of this year and working to resolve conflict and issues with contracts in a way that's fair to producers and that looks long-term supporting the grain industry and agriculture in Saskatchewan."
Wotherspoon says the NDP is listening to producers across Estevan and wanted to thank everyone who's been reaching out on these issues.