of The Crossroads
A regional office with a focus on the needs of producers in the west central region has celebrated its new location with producers and various other guests.
The Saskatchewan Agriculture (Sask Ag) and Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) office in Kindersley held an event on Oct. 12 to celebrate the new location at the Kindersley Mall. Approximately 40 people including producers, dignitaries and staff were in attendance.
A short program featured speeches by representatives of Sask Ag and SCIC. Dignitaries on hand for the event included Kindersley MLA Ken Francis and Rick Burton, the deputy minister of agriculture. Mayor Rod Perkins of Kindersley made an appearance.
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Devin Cherneski of SCIC, the manager at the regional services office, welcomed people to the celebration at the start of the program and he said the staff was pleased to see people on hand for the event. The staff was also excited to welcome people into the office space to show off the new surroundings.
The offices are located on the west side of the mall next to the space where a new grocery store will be opening in the future. The space used to be a wide open area that had not been used by a business for several years. The space has been through quite a transition.
“There has been a lot of great work done here,” the manager said, recognizing that the people who planned and designed the office space worked hard to transform it into an environment with several offices and work areas.
Cherneski, who has been working in the area for about 12 years, said he manages the SCIC operations for the Kindersley and Rosetown areas. He introduced several staff members from the SCIC head office in Melville, and then he introduced the staff members on hand from the local office.
He noted that there are 10 full-time and part-time SCIC staff members working in Kindersley including one staff member shared by the corporation and Sask Ag. For the producers on hand, he said business never stops for staff at the office and people were there to talk to producers about the different programs being offered through SCIC. Cherneski mentioned the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program.
The manager referred to producer guarantees, production declarations and business risk management programs for starters. He said a lot is being done online now with programs including CropConnect and AgConnect, and service is available for those programs at the location.
Jeff Morrow, the vice-president of operations for SCIC, spoke next and he thanked people for attending the opening of the new office. He mentioned the partnership between SCIC and the ministry of agriculture, and said it is a good fit.
“It’s a good partnership because we’re really closely aligned on what’s important to each of our organizations in terms of what we stand for, what we strive for and what’s important to us,” he said, referring to good customer service, good programs and effective service delivery as important aspects. “I’m glad we have this location where we’ve got a one-stop-shop for all of those programs and services for producers in the Kindersley area.”
He noted that the office moved in the spring, but officials chose the fall to celebrate the new location because October is Agriculture Month in Saskatchewan. Morrow said the staff at the office understands the challenges crop producers are going through now because most staff members are producers, themselves, or closely connected to agriculture.
Morrow said Shawn Jaques, the president of SCIC, was supposed to be at the event, but he was harvesting wheat at his farm on the eve of the event. He also reminded producers about the compensation for downgraded quality and wildlife damage.
Tom Schwartz, the Sask Ag manager of operations and readiness for western Saskatchewan, said the ministry has shared an office with SCIC for 10 years since a regional office opened in Kindersley again, and it has been a good relationship. He spoke about his initial reaction to the space before it was renovated.
“When I first heard we were moving to the mall and saw the first floor plans, I was scared because it looked like a cave,” he said, recognizing that it was a long narrow space with no windows or features. “I think they’ve done a tremendous job.”
He gave credit to the people who designed the office space and its floor plan. Schwartz, who works out of the office in Swift Current, introduced the ministry experts and staff at the celebration. He referred to the Canada Agriculture Partnership programs being offered at the office.
Schwartz added that the staff was also set up to analyze water samples, and he encouraged producers to get set up with a premise identification number. After the manager was finished, people enjoyed cake and refreshments.