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Province declares livestock state of emergency

Restrictions eased to help farmers move animals

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WINNIPEG - Unprecedented flooding along the Assiniboine River has led the provincial Agriculture Department to declare a livestock emergency.

In many areas, farmers have no place to put their cattle as the flood waters head towards their farms.

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"This is a serious situation," Agriculture Minister Stan Struthers said late this afternoon in declaring the emergency.

"Today, I put out a call to action to producers to help one another during this emergency," he said. "We know that producers have been working tirelessly with other producers and government through this time. Lending a helping hand to a neighbor can make a world of difference during an emergency."

While the emergency is in effect, the provincial Agriculture Department will identify Crown lands that can be used for agricultural purposes. The land will be sued to house livestock and store machinery until it is no longer needed, Struthers said.

One of the areas of greatest concern appears to be the 225 square kilometers of land the province projects will be flooded in its controlled release of water from the Assiniboine into the La Salle River watershed. Agricultural officials from Starbuck and Portage la Prairie are contacting farmers in the affected area.

At the same time, officials are working with farmers facing flooding along Lake Manitoba.

The government is encouraging farmers with extra pasture land or feed to contact their local Agriculture Department Go Office to offer their help. It’s also encouraging farmers who need help to do the same.

Meanwhile, the province eased load limits on a number of roads Tuesday to allow farmers affected by flooding to move feed, livestock and machinery.

Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said roads closed due to flooding will remain closed.

But farmers who have grain or livestock that are at risk from flooding are encouraged to call for a special permit to move them.

The province puts road restrictions in place every spring to protect the road system. Restrictions normally are in place until the end of May.

Because of the flood, the province is simplifying the permit process to allow farmers to haul heavy loads on roads. All that a farmer needs to is make one phone call to the permit office, Ashton said. The permit office hours have been expanded to deal with emergency situations. The number is 1-877-812-0009.

The latest information on highway conditions in Manitoba can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/roadinfo or by calling toll-free 1-877-MBRoads.

 

The latest information on highway conditions in Manitoba can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/roadinfo   or by calling toll-free 1-877-MBRoads.

History

Updated on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 4:41 PM CDT: Adds information on state of emergency

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