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Governments to invest in Manitoba land drainage


July 25, 2016
By Drainage Contractor

The governments of Canada and Manitoba will invest $1 million in a pilot project to improve drainage and address other water-related issues affecting agricultural producers in the Rural Municipality (RM) of Bifrost-Riverton.

“Dealing with excess moisture from extreme weather events has created many challenges for Manitoba farmers in recent years,” said Lawrence MacAulay, federal agriculture minister, in a press release. “This investment will help find ways to effectively manage and improve water-related issues ensuring long-term sustainability of the land and economic prosperity for farmers.” 

Over the next three years, Bifrost Agricultural Sustainability Community Service Cooperative Inc. (BASIC) will use this funding to increase profitability and competitiveness of area producers by:

  • examining the effects of artificially induced excess moisture, varying seeding rates and varietal differences on several crops, through innovative field research;
  • identifying alternative crops for the region that might be suitable and economically viable with improved water management;
  • researching ways to mitigate soil erosion and maintain water quality on agricultural lands; and
  • rehabilitating more than 330 kilometres of municipal drainage.

The field research will utilize innovative water management infrastructure such as tile drainage and irrigation developed at the Prairies East Sustainable Agricultural Initiative diversification centre near Arborg.  Soil erosion and water quality work will be completed through partnership with the East Interlake Conservation District, with contributions from local area farmers. 

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Ministers noted between 2008 and 2010, significant rains resulted in producers triggering over $10 million in payments from the AgriStability program alone. This project, to be led by the cooperative and the municipality, is based on the results of a feasibility study focused on land and water management options for the area. 

The co-operative was formed in 2008 to help find solutions for crop and livestock farmers dealing with excess moisture.  Today, it includes 90 percent of farmers in the RM of Bifrost-Riverton as members. Farmers in the municipality will contribute $4 million to this initiative through a levy on agricultural land administered by the rural municipality. 

This pilot project will be funded under Growing Forward 2 – Growing Actions. The federal and provincial governments are investing $176 million in Manitoba under Growing Forward 2, a five-year, federal-provincial-territorial policy framework to advance the agriculture industry, helping producers and processors become more innovative and competitive in world markets.  For more information, visit www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture under Growing Forward 2. 

For more information on Manitoba’s agricultural programs and services, follow the Twitter account atwww.twitter.com/MBGovAg


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