The federal government is expediting the process for offering aid to Manitoba cattle producers dealing with the effects of flooding.

"We're expediting things as quickly as we can," says Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "As you know there's always a process when you're dealing with taxpayers' money. I was in the area last Friday for meetings in Neepawa and so forth and I assured the producers this is their third time coming back and we have never dropped the ball up until this point, and we certainly hope to keeping moving forward on this one."

Cattle producers in the Interlake and Westlake regions have experienced flooding and, as a result, feed shortages for the last three years. Record rainfall in many areas led to flooding and extremely poor hay conditions again in 2010.

"We'll get through with a package as quickly as we can. We know there are different requirements in different parts of the province. We've tried to adjust for all that," says Ritz.

Farm groups have been calling for federal and provincial support since late spring. Provincial agriculture minister Stan Struthers says the province approved its portion of the package before the end of August. Struthers met with Ritz to discuss the issue in Winnipeg last Friday.

~ Thursday, November 25, 2010 ~