February 11, 2021
Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg, MB – The PC government is ignoring the voices of farming families and putting producers’ livelihoods at risk by refusing to work with the Federal government to make life easier for producers.
Documents obtained by the Manitoba NDP show the Department of Agriculture and Resource Development has identified the same problems with the AgriStability program that the Federal changes would address. A government advisory note shows fewer producers are applying for Manitoba’s AgriStability program because of provincial roadblocks, low benefit payments and uncertainty for producers. But the Minister of Agriculture still refuses to do the right thing and agree to the changes.
“The last few years have been challenging for farming families in Manitoba,” said Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew. “But instead of giving producers the supports they need to pay the bills the PC government is refusing to sign on to common sense changes that make life easier for farming families. It’s time for the PC government to listen to producers and collaborate with the Federal government to keep our agricultural economy strong.”
The Federal government has proposed changes that would improve the program by boosting coverage for farmers and eliminating the Reference Margin limit. Manitoba producers are overwhelmingly in favour of these changes, yet the PC government has refused to sign onto the new plan, leaving Manitoba’s agricultural industry hanging in the balance.
Producers are already scrambling to adjust to the PC government’s plan to close MASC offices, a cut which would make it even harder for producers to apply for AgriStability programs.
“The PC government’s refusal to adopt federal changes is setting producers and families behind – and their lack of communication is hurting producers’ ability to plan for their future,” said Kinew. “It’s time for the province to make a decision. Manitoba farmers are depending on them.”