The Governments of Canada and Manitoba have partnered to assist producers in the northern Interlake region that were adversely affected by excess moisture conditions in 2008 and 2009. Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Stan Struthers announced today that affected producers will receive more than $2.5 million from the AgriRecovery program.
“This program responds to the need for financial assistance that was identified by northern Interlake producers during consultation meetings,” said Minister Struthers. “Direct financial support is being provided when producers need it the most, demonstrating the Manitoba Government’s commitment to the agriculture sector. The cash infusion works in concert with the insurance programs offered by Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC).”
Crop producers in the rural municipalities of Grahamdale, Siglunes, Eriksdale, Fisher, Bifrost, Coldwell, Armstrong, Gimli, and St. Laurent, the First Nation of Dog Creek, and Northern Affairs areas and First Nations communities deemed eligible in that region that participated in the 2009 AgriInsurance program, will receive $15 per unseeded acre to assist with the extraordinary costs of maintaining these fields following two consecutive years of flooding.
“Manitoba farm families are feeling the impact of flooding and excess moisture and this Government is working to ensure they get the help they need to get back on their feet,” said Member of Parliament James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake) on behalf of Minister Ritz. “This assistance will help North Interlake farmers off-set the cost of restoring their crop land to full production in time for spring seeding.”
A number of producers concentrated in the eligible area had crop production losses in 2008, with the land being too wet to seed in 2009. Assistance provided through the AgriRecovery program will help with the cost of restoring the land and will complement the existing programs that are providing operating assistance for 2010. Under the AgriRecovery agreement, 60% of the funding will be provided by Canada and 40% by Manitoba.
This program is in addition to assistance available through AgriInsurance, AgriStability, the federal Advance Payments Program (APP) and MASC’s lending programs which supplement the financial tools available through private sector lenders.
The federal APP is available to assist producers with the cash flow needed to seed the crop. Up to $400,000 is available to producers, the first $100,000 being interest-free. Typically, with their intended seeded acreage report, producers can access up to 60% of their pre-production advance to help with seeding costs. Once they have seeded, they can access the remaining 40% with their confirmed seeded acreage report. MASC’s Operating Credit Guarantee Program can assist producers in obtaining operating funds from their bank or credit union. MASC also provides debt consolidation financing in order to assist its direct lending clients in dealing with outstanding operating credit.
Excess moisture conditions in the northern Interlake region in the past two years have resulted in poor crop conditions and unseeded land, creating significant financial hardship for producers. While assistance from existing Business Risk Management programs has been substantial, this program will help producers manage the back-to-back costs that are not covered by the programs.
Note that there is no application for this program. Producers are eligible if they participated in AgriInsurance and had unseeded acreage in 2009. They will automatically receive the payment beginning next week.