The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Farmers disappointed Ottawa not offering special help for flooded fields

  • Print
The swollen Assiniboine River covers farmland along Grand Valley Road west of Brandon, Man. on July 6, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith

Enlarge Image

The swollen Assiniboine River covers farmland along Grand Valley Road west of Brandon, Man. on July 6, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith

WINNIPEG - Ottawa is not offering Prairie farmers any immediate, special help to recover from this year's flood, which some peg at costing producers $1 billion in lost revenue.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz told a news conference in Winnipeg that affected farmers will be eligible to apply for help under existing insurance programs. Those programs worked well for those affected by the 2011 flood and they will do the same for farmers now, he said.

"Farmers know that they're well-served by the programs that are there," Ritz said Friday following the annual meeting of federal and provincial agriculture ministers.

"We worked diligently through 2011. We'll be doing the same assessments and moving forward."

It's estimated at least 1.6 million hectares of farmland in Manitoba and Saskatchewan have been damaged by flooding in recent weeks. Torrential rain in both provinces at the beginning of July caused widespread, overland flooding in rural areas.

Manitoba declared a state of emergency and called in the military to help shore up flood defences as flood water made its way east from Saskatchewan. While urban centres were largely left unscathed, the floodwater turned fields into lakes.

Even before the rain hit, around 405 thousand hectares of land in Manitoba had gone unseeded because of overland flooding. Crop insurance now covers unseeded or flooded hectares, which should help farmers, Ritz said.

"That's much more bankable and predictable and stable than waiting for an ad-hoc payment," he said.

Ottawa will be working closely with the provinces to look at building up flood defences so the country isn't dealing with "these situations on a crisis basis," he added.

Doug Chorney, head of Keystone Agricultural Producers, said that's not much comfort for farmers who were hoping to hear more from the federal government. Farmers are looking at losing $1 billion because of flooding, he said. Farmers in Manitoba have been battered by flooding and many will be forced to leave the industry if they don't get extra help, he said.

"I was hoping to hear they were planning on having a strong, robust AgriRecovery program that would get producers through this difficult time. We didn't hear that so I'm disappointed," Chorney said after listening to Ritz. "This is going to be devastating for producers who've been expecting to hear there will be help."

Crop insurance isn't much help, especially for farmers who have been hit by flooding before, Chorney said. Their deductible goes up and doesn't end up paying many bills, he said.

Farmers who were hit hard by the 2011 flood in Manitoba are demoralized, Chorney said.

"They don't have the resolve to carry on," he said. "People are talking about piece-mealing off their farm, getting out of cattle because they have no pasture ... We can't wait for government. Clearly we're hearing that government is not going to be here for many producers. That's unfortunate."

Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn said the province still doesn't know the extent of the damage caused by this most recent flood. The province is still working on how many producers have been affected and exactly how many hectares have been lost, he said.

"The sad reality is that Mother Nature is the element we cannot control," Kostyshyn said. "When you have a rainfall that is 150 to 200 per cent higher than the norm, you don't have proper infrastructure that can even handle that velocity of water."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Your top TV picks for August 25-28

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 090728 / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS White Pelicans belly up to the sushi bar Tuesday afternoon at Lockport. One of North America's largest birds is a common sight along the Red RIver and on Lake Winnipeg. Here the fight each other for fish near the base of Red RIver's control structure, giving human fisher's downstream a run for their money.
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you agree with the mandatory helmet law for cyclists under 18?

View Results

Ads by Google