Farmers from across Manitoba met this past week in Winnipeg at the Keystone Agricultural Producers 35th annual meeting, calling on their organization to address a wide range of issues that include railway line improvement and maintenance in order to get their commodities to market, funding for veterinary training, and education to keep abreast of updated regulations for safely moving farm equipment on roadways.
“This meeting is an opportunity for farmers to put forward their concerns and recommendations regarding our industry, so that farming can become even more efficient in order to continue providing food for Canadians and others around the world,” said KAP president Bill Campbell.
Campbell, a grains and cattle producer from Minto, was acclaimed president. Jill Verwey, who runs a mixed farming operation near Portage la Prairie, and Mitch Janssens, a grains and oilseeds producer from Boissevain, were acclaimed vice-presidents.
The following is a summary of resolutions that were passed:
Maintenance of service roads for access to fields
KAP will lobby the Government of Manitoba to upgrade and maintain service roads where access roads have been closed due to Manitoba government policy.
Class 1 licence for farm use
KAP will request that the Government of Manitoba create and implement a Class 1 (semi-trailer) licence for farmers to harmonize with the Saskatchewan government.
KAP, with assistance from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, will lobby the national railways to continue their efforts to provide dual rail lines in order to prevent the collisions that occur on shared single lines.
KAP will continue to work with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the Government of Canada to make rail transportation a priority, ensuring that financial assistance from the federal government is available to ensure farm commodities can get to market.
Movement of farm machinery and equipment
KAP will work with the various provincial government departments to develop a document and/or website that explains in simple language the new and existing regulations that apply to the movement of farm equipment, machinery and commodities.
KAP will approach Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to have a role in the strategic direction of the Living Labs project to ensure farmers have the option and ability to perform best management practices which directly address the needs outlined in the Paris Climate Accord and the UN’s IPCC-SR15 report.
Drainage, retention and irrigation
KAP will lobby the Government of Manitoba to remove compensation requirements for Class 3 to 5 wetlands for projects where the water is entirely maintained and stored within the project, to then later be used as an irrigation source.
KAP will urge the Government of Manitoba to reduce or remove the offsetting costs of draining class 3 wetlands.
Seed research and development
KAP will lobby Agriculture and Agri-food Canada to continue to research, develop and finish wheat varieties that set the standards in the milling industry.
Grain dryer certification
KAP will continue to lobby the Office of the Fire Commissioner, Manitoba Infrastructure and Manitoba Agriculture to provide clarity to the interpretation and application of the Canadian Standards Association regulations so that producers have access to both new and used grain dryers, as well as expedited grain dryer certifications in Manitoba.
Expanding natural gas capacity
KAP will develop a plan with key industry stakeholders to expand natural gas capacity in rural Manitoba in order to provide economic and competitive benefits to producers, the agricultural sector and Manitoba as a whole.
Wild boar population in Manitoba
KAP will lobby the Government of Manitoba to direct resources that will identify and eradicate wild boar populations because these animals have the potential to spread African swine disease into Manitoba’s pork industry.
Veterinary training for Manitoba residents
KAP will meet with the provincial minister of education to encourage the Government of Manitoba to maintain its level of support funding for Manitoba students at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.
KAP will discuss with the dean of the WCVM additional supports that would encourage graduates to return to Manitoba and establish or join large animal practices.
Cereal genetic funding
KAP will lobby the Government of Canada to do further research on a point-of-delivery check-off system, in place of trailing or end-point royalties, in order to fund seed variety development.
Cash Advance Program
KAP will lobby commodity groups to work with the Government of Canada to allow innovative farms and value-added enterprises in Manitoba to access the interest-free Cash Advance Program, using an enhanced crop list similar to other provinces.
Establishment of innovative farms and value-added enterprises
KAP will lobby the Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba to provide more resources to help innovative farms and value-added enterprises to get established in Manitoba.
Road test for Class 1 licence
KAP will lobby the Government of Manitoba and Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation to address the deficiency of instructors who give the road tests for Class 1 drivers’ licences so that farm employees do no have to wait two months to get a test. By that time, seeding is over.