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This article was published 22/10/2019 (607 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Harold Janzen farms land beside the Marsh River, but next year, a provincial watersheds fund will pay him not to farm some of it.
That's because, on average, two out of every five years, part of Janzen's Rural Municipality of Montcalm land floods and destroys his crops, qualifying him to be part of a new program created by the Seine-Rat River Conservation District to pay farmers not to farm flood-prone land.
He'll be paid $100 per acre under the program.
"During a good year, we would get much more than 100 bucks," Janzen said Tuesday at an announcement by Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister of the first three projects funded by the province's Growing Outcomes in Watersheds (GROW) Trust fund.
"But in two out of five years, we lose a crop and we still have the inputs to pay for. This is a win-win to pay us."
Pallister, at a news conference at the Bruce D. Campbell Farm and Food Discovery Centre a few kilometres south of Winnipeg, said $250,000 apiece from GROW will go to the Seine-Rat district and the Little Saskatchewan River Conservation District to pay for projects to conserve wetlands and to battle the impacts of floods and drought.
Pallister also said up to $1 million will be spent by GROW to replant the Trans-Canada shelterbelt from west of Headingley to Portage la Prairie, what he said will be called a provincial "signature project."
"Some of the best stewards of the environment I've every met are farmers," the premier said.
"Our government values the critical role farmers play in managing our landscapes and watersheds. Working in collaboration with producers and landowners, the GROW Trust will ensure the sustainability of our wetlands today and for future generations to come."
As well, ALUS Canada, an alternative land-use organization which works with farmers to produce cleaner air and water, announced it would invest $300,000 over two years for projects in Manitoba.
Jodi Goerzen, district manager of what will soon be named the Seine-Rat-Roseau Watershed District, said they are thrilled to receive the money from GROW to pay for surface water management and water storage projects.
"We can offer landowners $100 per acre and the cost of establishing it," Goerzen said. "We look at it as we're renting the land from you on a 10-year basis."
Meanwhile, Tim Sopuck, chief executive officer of the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation, said the first intake of applications from, what are now called conservation districts, but which will soon be called watershed districts, to the GROW Trust will be in January.
The GROW Trust was created and funded by the province with a $52-million investment. It is managed by the Winnipeg Foundation.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.