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Drenched Man. farmers to get forage aid program

Manitoba’s provincial government has pledged to set up a forage assistance program (MFAP) to help livestock producers in parts of the province hit by recent overland flooding.

Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk announced the province’s commitment to such a program Sunday after touring areas affected by overland flooding in recent days in the Interlake, the region of the province between Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba.

“Many areas of the province, particularly the Interlake region, have had significant levels of rain this summer while others have been excessively dry, both of which have decimated many hay crops,” said Wowchuk in a release Sunday.

“Either the hay has been ruined or it’s so wet producers can’t access the hay they’ve already baled. Today, we are committing to help these producers access feed and connect them with producers fortunate enough to get a hay crop off their fields.”

MFAP application forms will “soon” be available at all provincial ag offices and online, the province said. Full program terms, conditions and application forms will be available on the provincial ag department website in early September.

Once it’s in place, MFAP is expected to provide financial assistance to help producers access feed supplies and will mirror the program provided in response to drought conditions in 2003 which assisted producers in meeting a feed shortage that year.

The program is to apply across the province and will be open to all Manitoba producers who must transport feed supplies unusually long distances or will need to move cattle unusually long distances in order to get them to feed. It will be available to producers experiencing feed shortages, whether from flooding or drought, the province said in its release.

Flood watches and warnings issued by Manitoba Water Stewardship for the Interlake and southwestern regions of the province have ended. However, the province said Sunday, overland flooding is expected to continue for about four more days.

Rainfall in the Interlake was above average in May and June and was twice the average in July, which has contributed greatly to runoff and flooding of low-lying areas, the province said.

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