Cattle producers dealing with the effects of excess moisture could see a government package unveiled in the next few weeks according to Selkirk-Interlake MP James Bezan.

"That's my hope, but we do still have to work with both the federal and provincial departments. I know they're in final discussions within each others' administration," says Bezan.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz met with Stan Struthers, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, in Winnipeg on Friday. Bezan says the meeting included discussion about an aid package.

"Hopefully, within a couple weeks they'll be able to be in a position to sign an agreement, and dot the i's and cross the t's and have an announcement for producers," he says.

Bezan notes the drier weather in October may have delayed the announcement.

"With most of the hay getting put up in the month of October, and later in September, that did slow down this process."

Struthers maintains that the province approved its part of the aid package before the end of August. The Manitoba Beef Producers (for whom Bezan formerly served as Chief Executive Officer) and Keystone Agricultural Producers have been calling for government assistance since late spring when the initial heavy rains hit Manitoba. Producers in the Interlake and Westlake regions have been dealing with flooding for at least three consecutive years.

~ Monday, November 22, 2010 ~