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Lyle Stewart Named Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister

29 May 2012
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CANADA - Saskatchewan's new minister of agriculture says value added processing, increased irrigation and completion of the work started by his predecessor will be among his thrusts moving forward.

On Friday (25 May), as part of a major reorganisation of his cabinet designed to better reflect the government's growth agenda Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall named Thunder Creek MLA Lyle Stewart as his new Minister of Agriculture and Minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation.

Mr Stewart, who still lives on the southern Saskatchewan grain, oilseed, pulse crop and beef operation on which he was born and raised, notes agriculture is Saskatchewan's second largest industry accounting for 10.1 billion dollars worth of exports last year and is key to the economy of the province and the country.

Mr Stewart said: "With an industry that exports 10.1 billion dollars worth of commodity and adds value to very little, I think there's opportunity there, certainly opportunity for this province. I think that will be one of my thrusts."

"The irrigation file, we need to develop more acres of irrigation in this province too to help facilitate value added as well. Those are things that I think about."

"At this point I am kind of in awe of Bob Bjornerud who was the previous ag minister and in my view, if not the best, certainly one of the best ever and I'm going to be following up on the work that he started."

Mr Stewart says of immediate concern to the province and to agriculture is the labor dispute involving Canadian Pacific Rail and its unions and he remains hopeful a lengthy work stoppage on this file can be avoided. Mr Stewart adds that the parties need to work out their differences and his is confident that will be facilitated one way or another.

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