Posted on 07/15/2016, 9:00 am, by mySteinbach

Farmers at Keystone Agricultural Producers’ advisory council meeting in Brandon yesterday voted to support the Brandon Chamber of Commerce in its efforts to attract a large-scale soybean processing plant to Manitoba.

“The soybean acreage in the province has been steadily increasing as a result of new varieties that are suited to western Canada’s shorter growing season,” said KAP president Dan Mazier. “Traditionally, this crop was only produced in areas with longer growing seasons.”

Manitoba’s soybean production has increased from 100,000 acres in 2005 to an estimated 1.7 million in 2016, and is expected to increase further next year.

“There are several smaller facilities in the province that process soybeans, but there is nothing as large as the proposed plant. As a result, much of our soybean crop is shipped elsewhere for processing,” Mazier said.

“An in-province facility of this size would mean lower shipping costs and would help farmers realize a greater profit for their soybeans. In addition, it would create jobs and economic activity here in Manitoba.”

Farmers at the meeting also passed a resolution to call on the federal government to develop regulations that would protect their data. In this age of high-tech farm services, a variety of agriculture technology providers – such as equipment manufacturers – routinely collect farmers’ data as they provide products and services.

“This information is stored on a variety of platforms, and unless an agreement is in place with the farmer, it has the potential to be shared with other agri-businesses,” said Mazier. “We want this type of agreement to be mandatory, and not voluntary as is currently the case.”

Other resolutions include lobbying the provincial government for highway upgrades near the Pas to accommodate agricultural machinery and trucks, and increasing KAP’s support for Camp Wannakumbac.