Manitoba farmers who lost forage crops to last year’s flooding and excess moisture and had to buy feed, but weren’t eligible for government aid, might now qualify.
The federal and provincial governments on Friday announced the expansion of their Forage Restoration and Feed Assistance program to nine more rural municipalities (RMs) in the province.
As a result of flooding in the Interlake and Westlake areas of Manitoba last fall, hay, forage and pasture fields were drowned out, making it difficult for producers to harvest enough feed for their livestock to carry them through the winter and will require producers to re-establish feed crops.
“Flood waters don’t follow municipal boundaries so it is essential this program adapts to the current situation and is available on a fair and equitable basis to the livestock producers affected,” provincial Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk said in a release.
Extending the program, which was originally introduced in March, “will ensure those who need the help will be able to obtain feed for their livestock and to re-establish feed crops.”
The expansion of eligibility is to include producers in the RMs of St. Andrews, Rockwood, Woodlands, Ochre River, Ste. Rose, Glenella, McCreary, Lakeview and Dauphin.
Under the program, up to $40 per acre will be available through the Manitoba Forage Restoration Assistance program (MFRAP) to help producers re-establish forage crops, forage seed fields and pasture affected by flooding.
As well, up to $70 per head will be made available for producers with breeding herds of cattle and other livestock, to help address the cost of purchasing feed, as per the Manitoba Livestock Feed Assistance Program (MLFAP).
The program, funded through AgriRecovery, is cost-shared 60-40 by the federal and provincial governments.
“The flooding this spring has created more hurdles for producers in areas that were flooded last year, and any additional assistance will hopefully help producers restore their operations and continue on this season,” Ian Wishart, president of Manitoba farmers’ group Keystone Agricultural Producers, said in a separate release Friday.
Producers in affected RMs may now also qualify for partial tax deferrals, allowing them to defer income tax payments on up to 90 per cent of income from the sale of breeding livestock for one year, as they replenish breeding stock in the following year.