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The Agri Post

Government’s All Talk With the high levels of recent snow, many of us are wondering with concern whether there will be a flood again this year; indeed in the U.S. they are already projecting a major flood for Fargo. Since the flood of 2011, I have travelled tens of thousands of By Dr. Jon Gerrard kilometres around the province, meeting people and holding forums and looking for better answers for preventing future floods. I produced a report, which can be found easily by googling “Manitoba Liberal Party Final Flood Report”. One of the major issues following the flood of 2011 has been the lack of support for farmers. Farmers around Lake Manitoba remained in a serious situation in 2012 as water levels remained high and some farmers still had areas which they normally farm that were far too wet with continued large growths of cattails. For others the long term flooding of grazing lands is requiring a multi-year restoration program. On February 22, I attended a meeting in Marquette, chaired by Tom Teichroeb, with Harry Siemens as MC in which more than 200 flood affected individuals, including many farmers, were present. A chief concern was the lack of coordination between the federal and provincial governments in ensuring a program was available to help compensate farmers for continuing losses in 2012 because of the flood of 2011. Manitoba farmers deserve better than this federal-provincial infighting. At the forum and on my blog (Jon Gerrard’s blog - Feb 24th), I called for the province and federal governments to work together. I urged that a plan be in place within two weeks so that money can flow to help farmers by the end of March. Sadly, this plan is not yet in place and farmers are still waiting for the help that they should receive. In the support of farmers and in the prevention of future flooding I have made numerous recommendations for improving overall water management in our province to decrease the risks of flooding in the future. Sadly, to date, the province has been slow to act, and we continue to be at greater risk of flooding than we should be if improvements were made. In all my almost 20 years in politics, I have never before seen such a chaotically delivered effort as the 2011 Flood recovery programs. For more details, you can visit my full report with sixty-five recommendations that should be addressed for Manitobans. If you need help or would like to share your ideas. Please contact me at jon.gerrard@leg.gov.mb.ca or phone my office at 204.945.5194. Jon Gerrard is the Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party.

Save the Date for 2nd Annual Manitoba 4-H FFun un Fest The Manitoba 4-H Fun Fest is back for another year and it promises to be bigger and better. Fun Fest will happen at the Dufferin Agricultural Society Fairgrounds in Carman July 11 - 13, in conjunction with the annual Carman Country Fair. It will feature favourite activities like horse, beef and dairy shows, a banquet and a Supreme Showmanship competition. This year’s event will also offer a variety of multi-purpose competitions, a pool party, a Grand March, and participation in the Carman Fair parade. Registration fees are being lowered to make the event as affordable as possible. Members bringing livestock will only pay $30 per person while all other members will pay $20. Registration fees include entrance to all activities, one ticket to the banquet, one ticket to the pool party and a souvenir t-shirt. All participants of Fun Fest will also be eligible to win a trip to the Pro Show in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia September 27-29. This is also the centennial year for 4-H in Canada and some special events are planned to honour the milestone. “We’re inviting former 4-H members to bring us their old 4-H projects to showcase them and share memories,” said FunFest Chairperson Diane Kovar. “And since we’re running in conjunction with the Carman Country Fair, we have the opportunity to promote 4-H in their parade.” Registration forms are expected to be online at 4h.mb.ca by the end of March. For information, contact Diane Kovar at (204) 571-0854.

March 29, 2013

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Toews Doesn alk His TTalk alk with FFarmers armers Doesn’t’t W Walk Dear Editor: MP Vic Toews likes to say that he and the Conservative Party support our farmers. The facts say otherwise. This month, a new Conservative federal-provincial agricultural agreement goes into effect setting the course for farming in Canada for the next 5 years, marking an unprecedented attack on programs designed to help farmers manage their risk - backstops necessary to farmers in tough times. Among the shocking cuts to the business risk management (BRM) suite are cuts to AgriInvest,

which helps cover income declines and provides funds to mitigate risks and invest in the farm, slashing its funding by 33 percent. More surprisingly, they also took a huge chunk out of AgriStability, which helps cover declines in producers’ average income from previous years, hacking off as much as $411 million a year, for a total cut of more than $2 billion over the 5-year program. With these cuts, the Conservatives are leaving producers more vulnerable when bad times hit – and doing so despite clearly hearing from farmers how valuable these programs are. Instead of cutting red tape, they cut all the reasonable assistance farmers

rely on in times of need. These cuts to BRM come on the heels of shortsighted plans to eliminate the Agroforestry Development Centre in Indian Head and the PFRA’s Community Pasture program— which both provide essential public services for producers that don’t have viable private business models—as well as reckless cuts to food inspection, which leaves the door open to another XL Foods-like crisis. The next time you hear Mr. Toews boast about his support for farmers, you might want to ask him about that record! Yours sincerely, Frank Valeriote, MP Liberal Party of Canada Agriculture Critic

AgriPost March 29 2013  

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