The big news in our Nov. 28, 1991 issue was the Manitoba government’s decision to top up its contribution to the Net Income Stabilization Account (NISA), following the lead of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The program allowed farmers to contribute up to one per cent of net sales to a fund which could be drawn at any time, with the federal and provincial governments each matching the contribution. As part of an income-assistance program, the federal government had agreed to pay the province’s share that year, which led to pressure for the provinces to pay anyway. NISA was terminated in 2004.
Meanwhile, several farm organization representatives were on their way to Ottawa to lobby for even more assistance, and asking that the $700 million already promised be paid out sooner.
The tight income situation was being reflected in land prices. FCC reported that land prices over the past year had fallen 11.8 per cent in Saskatchewan, 2.3 per cent in Manitoba and 5.8 per cent in Alberta.
Signs of trouble between the Prairie Pools were beginning to appear, with Manitoba Pool delegates questioning Saskatchewan Pool’s decision to acquire two large Manitoba elevators to be operated as AgPro Grain.
XCAN, the export arm of the three Pools, was also in the news. Its former chief trader was sentenced to three years in prison for using the company to bankroll his own trading activities. His partner in the scheme received 2-1/2 years.