Chronic challenges with excess water topped the list of problems Manitoba farmers discussed with Federal Liberal Agriculture Critic Wayne Easter over the Thanksgiving Weekend.
Easter, along with provincial Liberal leader Jon Gerrard, toured a number of farms and made stops in several communities, including Arborg, Portage, Carman and Neepawa.
"I couldn't help but think when I was in the Interlake area...any other country in the world with that kind of land base would be doing something about it and spending whatever they need to spend on infrastructure and other means to get the job done," says Easter. "I mean I was in the Arborg area, we went out on a sprayer and saw geese swimming in the middle of the field. This is the fourth year of this type of situation. Those farmers need help and they need it fast."
He says both the federal and provincial governments have failed farmers when it comes to water management. He's calling on both levels on government to come forward with both immediate aid to help producers survive the coming months, and a long term plan for proper management of water.
"This is not just the federal government. Both governments are offside in terms of dealing with the problem that farmers face. Both governments are also offside when it comes to problems that the livestock industry faces in general," he says.
Easter says farmers he visited with also pointed out the lack of assistance for cattle producers, and major problems with the safety net programs. "Clearly, everywhere I went, farmers tell me that the current safety net programs will not meet their needs. Whether it's Agri-Insurance, Agri-Stability or Agri-Recovery, they will not meet the farm community's needs."
Listen to Wayne Easter's conversation with Kelvin Heppner on the Manitoba Farm Journal:
~ Wednesday, October 13, 2010 ~