Assiniboine Valley farms get expanded flood fund

Compensation for lost native hay and pastureland and to restore forage crops has been added to the offerings from an aid fund for farmers in western Manitoba’s Assiniboine Valley.

The provincial government on Wednesday said it would budget over $2.5 million to the Assiniboine Valley Producers Flood Compensation program to compensate farmers for financial losses due to flooded farmland.

The fund is for farms between the Shellmouth reservoir on Lake of the Prairies, about 100 km southeast of Yorkton, Sask., and the city of Brandon, about 200 km southeast of the lake.

“Financial assistance is being extended to these producers to partially offset the flooding losses they experienced in 2010 caused by high flows from the Shellmouth reservoir when its capacity was exceeded due to a number of extreme rainfall events,” Agriculture Minister Stan Struthers said Wednesday.

“This area has been particularly hard hit by excessive moisture and flooding, and this financial assistance is necessary to help producers through these challenging times.”

The flood fund, managed by Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp., was previously activated in 2007, when it paid out $195,000, as well as in 2006 ($380,000) and 2005 ($900,000).

Native hay, pasture and restoration of forage crops are new additions to the program for 2010, the province said.

AgriInsurance participants will be sent an application, while application forms are expected to be made available for uninsured producers by mid-January.

The Assiniboine River Flood Compensation Steering Committee, which includes representatives from various provincial and federal agencies and stakeholder groups, “continues to work on a long-term solution to flooding attributed to the operation of the Shellmouth reservoir,” the province said.

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