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New program supports economic development in agriculture and agri-products sectors

Under Growing Forward 2, Canada and Manitoba are partnering to fund a new program, Growing Adaptation, which will help farmers and food processors build water infrastructure and prepare for situations where water storage will directly impact their businesses. The announcement of $2.4 million in annual funding for five years was made by Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn.

“Water is a vital resource for the agricultural industry,” said Minister Ritz. “These initiatives will help farmers and rural processors develop efficient water management strategies to support the environment and generate opportunities for economic growth.”

“A stable water supply underpins the continued growth in Manitoba’s agriculture and food sector,” said Minister Kostyshyn. “Upgraded water infrastructure is fundamental to new businesses and encourages existing businesses to grow. This program will drive economic growth and help create good jobs, which in turn results in strong, viable rural communities.”

The Growing Adaptation Program will fund strategic water infrastructure projects, as well as studies on water management. Examples of projects that will be supported under this new program are:

  • Projects that support strategic rural mainline water pipeline and multi-user potable water storage infrastructure. For example, assisting a food-processing facility expansion get access to a mainline pipeline or increase local potable water storage.
  • Well projects for multiple users. For example, helping a municipality that wants to build a well to provide non-potable water for agriculture producers during a drought.
  • Studies on how to source potable water in rural Manitoba. For example, supporting a group of municipalities wanting to study how best to ensure there is enough water for livestock producers in the region.
  • Studies on how to manage non-potable water, such as protecting farmland from regular flooding.

For potable water infrastructure projects and rural water sourcing studies, rural municipalities and incorporated water co-operatives are required to contact the Manitoba Water Services Board, which will apply for Growing Adaptation funding on their behalf. Proposals must demonstrate how the project will directly increase or sustain agriculture development or agri-product processing. Projects will be assessed on criteria such as the amount of water provided to agricultural users, the number of users impacted, estimated value of agricultural products sustained and economic indicators such as number of rural jobs created or maintained.

For non-potable water management studies, agricultural organizations, including associations, co-operatives, corporations, not for profit, commissions or boards that are actively engaged in representing agriculture producers, agri-product processors or agribusiness members are eligible to apply directly for funding. These proposals must identify water management strategies that will assist in capturing market opportunities or address risks associated with extremes of water availability and climate change. As an example, a potato growers’ association would like to conduct a study on the feasibility of sourcing water for irrigation in a specific region of Manitoba, however water supplies may be unreliable. Applications by agricultural organizations can be made online.

Further detailed information on the Growing Adaptation Program can be found online at www.manitoba.ca/agriculture or by contacting the nearest Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development GO office. In Manitoba, the federal and provincial governments are investing $176 million over five years in the Growing Forward 2 program.

Growing Forward 2 is a five-year federal-provincial-territorial policy framework that is investing $3 billion nationally to advance the agriculture industry, helping producers and processors become more innovative and competitive in world markets. For more information on Growing Forward 2, visit www.agr.gc.ca/growingforward2.

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