KAP News & Media

KAP News and Media

News Releases


July 11, 2014

Farmers' severe flooding losses dominate discussion at KAP meeting

Farmers at yesterday’s Keystone Agricultural Producers general council meeting in Brandon expressed their dismay over the severe crop and pasture losses due to flooding from the record-breaking rains experienced by Manitoba and Saskatchewan in June.

According to Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation, over 950,00 acres went unseeded due to wet conditions, primarily in southwest Manitoba, said KAP president Doug Chorney.

“Now, based on what Saskatchewan experienced upstream, I believe there will be an additional 2.5 million acres of seeded crops and pasture affected in Manitoba – by both overland and river flooding,” Chorney said. “This will mean that farmers stand to lose $1 billion dollars.”

He noted the floods have also washed out forage crops used as feed for cattle, as well as pasture land, and cattle producers are already experiencing feed shortages. In addition, they are having difficulty finding dry pastures where they can re-locate their cattle.

“When farmers lose this much money, there is a ripple effect for Manitoba’s economy – so this could mean a $3 billion loss to the economy, “Chorney said. “So many sectors provide goods and service to primary producers – including transportation, financial, implement manufacturing, and input sectors.”

KAP called for a federal-provincial AgriRecovery program to be generated, a disaster program that is cost-shared 60/40 by the federal government and the Province respectively. Chorney said he had already spoken to Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn about the dire need for the program.

Delegates to the meeting expressed frustration over the massive flooding of the Assiniboine River  to guest speaker Larry Maguire, MP for Brandon-Souris, and called for federal support for the proposed Assiniboine River Basin Commission.

The Commission would be a multi-jurisdictional body that would look at the entire watershed – including drainage in Saskatchewan, which many believe is the cause for the unprecedented river flooding during the summer. Maguire indicated he would take their request to Ottawa.

KAP also supports the concept of a commission for the Assiniboine River watershed, and is involved in its establishment.

Producers at the meeting also expressed the need for the Province to better forecast and control water at the Shellmouth Dam, located near where the Assiniboine enters Manitoba.

Another concern raised was the moratorium on hog production in Manitoba, and the shortage of pork supplied to Maple Leaf Foods in Brandon.

Maple Leaf’s plant manager, Morgan Curran-Blaney, spoke on the economic importance of Manitoba’s pork industry and Maple Leaf’s role. The plant is a major contributor to Brandon’s 16 per cent population growth, employs 2,300 people, and is planning $15 million in upgrades that will translate into a very large amount of economic activity in the Brandon area, he said.

Chorney said: “I attended a consultation with the Province yesterday regarding issues to be raised at the federal-provincial-territorial meetings next week, and I pointed out that both federal and provincial government are supporting and funding the initiatives that will add value here in Manitoba to primary production.

“I can’t think of a better example of this than pork processing at a world-class plant, and yet our hands are tied in increasing production to meet the plant’s needs.”

-30-

For more information:
Doug Chorney, president – 204-785-3626
Val Ominski, communications – 204-697-1140, ext. 3

Keystone Agricultural Producers is Manitoba’s largest farm policy organization, representing the interests of all Manitoba farmers.