Man. hog farmers backed for manure storage, treatment

Manitoba hog producers will be able to get public funds to help build or repair manure storage on their farms and set up manure treatment systems to cut the risk of phosphorus runoff into waterways and wells.

The federal and Manitoba governments on Thursday pledged over $26 million for a new three-year Manure Management Financial Assistance Program (MMFAP).

Storage on-farm would eliminate the need for winter application of manure, the governments said, and manure treatment systems would put producers “in a better position to reduce soil phosphorus on their land.”

“We recognize that we all share responsibility for protecting our water and we also recognize the challenges this (hog) industry has faced with the rising dollar and unstable prices,” provincial Agriculture Minister Stan Struthers said in a release.

Cost-sharing of MMFAP will see the federal government put up $16 million from its Agricultural Flexibility Fund, while the province kicks in over $10 million for building and repairing manure storage structures.

Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP), Manitoba’s general farm organization, said Thursday the MMFAP will help producers get out ahead of new manure management requirements under the province’s Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation.

“This is positive news and it should help small family farms cope with meeting the regulations,” KAP president Doug Chorney said in a release.

“Producers welcome help with the substantial costs of ensuring they have manure storage once the extended ban on winter spreading comes into effect in 2013.”

New provincial requirements call for livestock producers with fewer than 300 animal units to have manure storage facilities for 400 days of storage.

MMFAP funds will be specifically available for producers under 300 animal units, up to a maximum of $250,000, KAP noted.

“Our hope is that these program funds will help with the financial burden of building or upgrading manure storage structures or adopting treatment systems in order for family farms to be able to continue on with their operations,” Chorney said.

Application forms for the MMFAP are expected be available next month, KAP said.

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