July 4, 2016 – Winnipeg, Manitoba – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The governments of Canada and Manitoba will invest $1 million in a pilot project to improve drainage and address other water-related issues affecting agricultural producers in the Rural Municipality (RM) of Bifrost-Riverton, Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler announced today.
Over the next three years, Bifrost Agricultural Sustainability Community Service Cooperative Inc. (BASIC) will use this funding to increase profitability and competitiveness of area producers by:
- examining the effects of artificially-induced excess moisture, varying seeding rates and varietal differences on several crops, through innovative field research;
- identifying alternative crops for the region that might be suitable and economically viable with improved water management;
- researching ways to mitigate soil erosion and maintain water quality on agricultural lands; and
- rehabilitating more than 350 kilometres of municipal drainage.
Ministers noted between 2008 and 2010, excess moisture from significant rains in the region resulted in producers triggering over $10 million in payments from the AgriStability program alone. This project, to be led by the cooperative and the municipality, is based on the results of a feasibility study focused on land and water management options for the area.
The cooperative was formed in 2008 to help find solutions for crop and livestock farmers dealing with excess moisture. Today, it includes 90 per cent of farmers in the RM of Bifrost-Riverton as members. Farmers in the municipality will contribute $4 million to this initiative through a levy on agricultural land administered by the RM.
The field research will utilize innovative water management infrastructure such as tile drainage and irrigation developed at the Prairies East Sustainable Agricultural Initiative diversification centre near Arborg. Soil erosion and water quality work will be completed through partnership with the East Interlake Conservation District, with contributions from local area farmers.
This pilot project will be funded under Growing Forward 2 – Growing Actions, which advances industry-led initiatives to increase competitiveness and create innovative solutions for agricultural organizations, including market development, trade advocacy, research projects, adopting best business practices and attracting investment.
The federal and provincial governments are investing $176 million in Manitoba under Growing Forward 2, a five-year, federal-provincial-territorial policy framework to advance the agriculture industry, helping producers and processors become more innovative and competitive in world markets.
“Dealing with excess moisture from extreme weather events has created many challenges for Manitoba farmers in recent years. This investment will help find ways to effectively manage and improve water-related issues ensuring long-term sustainability of the land and economic prosperity for farmers.”– Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
“We are committed to finding effective solutions to deal with chronic excess moisture, to help reduce the devastating effects on farm families and the rural economy. This project supports on-farm competitiveness and profitability and may offer lessons that can be applied in other parts of the province dealing with similar challenges. It may also help reduce the demand on business risk management programs by dealing with the root causes of the issue.”– Ralph Eichler, Minister of Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development
“Our farmer-members are very excited about the opportunities presented by this project. This cooperative effort will allow us to begin capturing the advantages of farming in a higher rainfall area, instead of having chronic problems. This project recognizes that effective risk management can be based on unique, local needs.”– Eric Fridfinnson, Chair, Bifrost Agricultural Sustainability Community Service Cooperative Inc.
Guy GallantDirector of CommunicationsThe Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay613-773-1059