Province addresses wildlife predation

Manitoba livestock producers will see an increase to wildlife damage compensation beginning in April

Manitoba livestock producers will soon see higher compensation rates for animals injured or killed by wildlife.

Beginning April 1, the maximum value for domestic animals killed or injured by natural predators will increase from $2,000 to $3,000.

“Creating an environment for producers to succeed in Manitoba is vital to building strong rural communities in our province. Financial stability, especially during production shortfalls, provides an important level of support to the people who contribute greatly to Manitoba’s economy,” said Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Ron Kostyshyn during a presentation at Manitoba Ag Days Jan. 19.

The Wildlife Damage Compensation Program is cost shared between the federal and provincial governments and is administered by the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation.

According to Kostyshyn, the hike in compensation has been made in response to producer feedback and is aimed to better reflect market conditions.

The province will also adjust compensation for young animals, increasing the amount to reflect the estimated value at the animal’s earliest practical weaning weight, rather than at the time of loss.

A welcomed increase

Predation and compensation rates were highly discussed issues at the Manitoba Beef Producers’ (MBP) district meetings, which were held throughout the province this past fall.

“Predation has been a huge issue for us in Manitoba and not just in Manitoba, it is something that is having a global impact,” said Melinda German, general manager of the MBP. “One of the biggest arguments we have always had is that when producers are losing calves to wildlife, they are not being paid for what that animal is actually worth.”

The MBP has been lobbying for better compensation for predator losses for years.

“We have a working group made up of government folks and industry, which has been looking at solutions to this. We have been going forward with different ideas and proposals about what needs to happen because we do have a significant challenge here,” she said.

Losses caused by wildlife are costly and can have major impacts on an operation especially when profit margins are thin.

“Seeing this response from government is very significant and very much appreciated,” said German.

While the increase will be welcomed by the industry, German says that there is still more that could be done.

“One of the things that we have always discussed going forward is maybe looking at ways to tie losses to what is actually happening in the market and having a bit of a fluctuating response,” said German. “We have tools in place now, like the Western Livestock Price Insurance that tracks prices of animals, so it is an option.”

For further information about the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program visit the MASC website.

About the author

Reporter

Jennifer Paige is a reporter centred in southwestern Manitoba. She previously wrote for the agriculture-based magazine publisher, Issues Ink and was the sole-reporter at the Minnedosa Tribune for two years prior to joining the Manitoba Co-operator.

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