Manitoba rolls out recovery plan for flood-weary farmers

Manitoba has gone ahead and pledged its share of what’s expected to be a $194 million AgriRecovery program, aimed at crop and livestock producers facing various types of wrecks in the wake of unprecedented flooding this year.

“Farmers can’t wait any longer for help and that’s why we are coming through for them when they need it,” provincial Agriculture Minister Stan Struthers said in a release Thursday.

The program is expected to help farmers take “specific action to recover from unseeded crop acres and pasture/hay shortages stemming from the flooding and excess moisture across the province,” he said.

It’s also meant to help livestock producers deal with added costs incurred buying the feed needed to maintain herds over winter and restore damaged forage acres, he added.

AgriRecovery programs, part of the suite of business risk management programs under the cost-shared federal/provincial Growing Forward ag policy funding framework, are meant as targeted, disaster-specific programming for farmers when aid is needed beyond what other BRM programs cover.

In this case, Struthers said, Manitoba is “actively pursuing negotiations with the federal government to cost-share this program at the standard 60-40 level.”

Given the scope of 2011 flooding on farmland, no deductibles will be applied on eligible assistance under this AgriRecovery plan, the province said.

With a zero deductible, some farmers may see a “significant increase” in their payments for unseeded acres compared to benefits they received through 2010 assistance, Manitoba general farm group Keystone Agricultural Producers noted in a separate release Thursday.

The AgriRecovery funding is to be considered “above and beyond” crop insurance or excess moisture insurance already available to Manitoba farmers and is meant to complement core programs such as AgriStability and AgriInvest, the province added.

The 2011 AgriRecovery plan, if fully funded, is to include:

  • $30 per acre for unseeded and flooded-out acres;
  • assistance for forage shortfall for flooding on pasture and hayland, for “immediate and over¿winter needs;”
  • transportation assistance based on costs associated with moving feed to animals and animals to feed;
  • $15 per acre to plant green feed by July 22;
  • $50 per acre for forage restoration assistance to restore and reseed tame hay and forage seed acres damaged by flood water;
  • infrastructure rehabilitation and flood-mitigation assistance for feedlots, dairy farms and potato and horticultural operations damaged by floods; and
  • aid for nurseries, vegetable and fruit producers, and leafcutter bee producers for lost perishable inventory.

Manitoba Beef Producers, the provincial cattle producers’ group, pegged the total forage restoration commitment (including the federal share) at about $23.5 million; aid for forage shortfalls at about $27.5 million; feed transport, $5.2 million; greenfeed incentives, $2.5 million; and feedlot rehabilitation, $8 million.

The $15 per acre greenfeed incentive program will require an arrangement between a livestock producer and landowner, MBP noted.

MBP president Jay Fox, a producer at Eddystone, Man., hailed the AgriRecovery announcement, saying the provincial government “listened to us and addressed the very obvious need in the livestock sector in this province in the timeframe that was needed.” 

As well, “feedlots have not been overlooked — that hasn’t always been the case,” he noted in the group’s release.

The expected $194 million budget is almost four times the amount of funding crop and livestock producers received in 2010 throughout the entire year, KAP said.

That increase “is a reflection of the broad impact the flood has had on many areas of the province,” KAP said.

KAP said it’s also “pleased” the time period to assess the number of flooded acres on farmland has been extended to Sept. 15. Applications can be submitted until Sept. 30, KAP noted.

Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp. (MASC) is to administer the AgriRecovery program.

Related stories:

Manitoba rolls out flood compensation programs, May 24, 2011

Manitoba declares “livestock emergency,” May 11, 2011

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