WINNIPEG - The government of Manitoba says it’s working with the federal government to provide assistance to producers impacted by the province’s ongoing drought conditions.
Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler and Federal Ag Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau say a hay disaster benefit will pay farmers an extra $44 for every tonne below coverage to compensate for the high cost of feed and transportation currently facing the agricultural sector. The announcement comes after a tour of Interlake farmland that showed the grim impact of the drought in decimating crop yields and quality and reducing the supply of water and feed.
Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation, a program of Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development that provides credit and crop insurance to Manitoba farmers, says it’s making it easier for producers to claim crop losses so that what can be salvaged from their fields can go toward feeding livestock.
Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler says the dry weather reduced river and soil moisture levels to near-record lows is many regions of the province — 200 to 250 mm less than normal — as low levels of precipitation that began last September show no signs of subsiding.
The province is now operating water control structures to mitigate low water conditions, balancing low water level effects in Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin, and operating the Shellmouth Dam to add water to the Assiniboine River. Schuler says the province is also considering enacting emergency powers to help with the water shortage.