Delegates also passed resolutions on water management, but won’t be organizing a mass demonstration at the legislature
Oilfield equipment needs to be cleaned as it enters and exits Manitoba farmland to prevent the spread of clubroot, says a resolution passed by the Keystone Agricultural Producers’ general council Oct. 17.
It was one of six resolutions debated. Five were passed and one was defeated.
“It’s not that big of a deal,” said Cromer farmer Carlyle Jorgensen, who moved the resolution. Oil companies have routinely cleaned their equipment while working in Alberta fields for years, he added.
Clubroot, a soil-borne disease, which can significantly cut canola yields, spreads with infected soil. The disease affects thousands of acres in Alberta where the disease was discovered 10 years ago.
Two infected fields were confirmed in Manitoba earlier this year.
Although the resolution passed it isn’t binding because KAP’s general council didn’t have a quorum of at least 33 delegates. All the resolutions passed will be put to KAP’s annual meeting in January for ratification, KAP president Doug Chorney said.
Meanwhile, KAP is looking into when its general council meets. Traditionally it’s April, July and October. Attendance was down Oct. 17 because so many farmers are still harvesting or doing field work. A long winter followed by a wet spring delayed seeding in some areas.
Also Manitoba farmers are growing more late-maturing crops such as soybeans and corn.
Chorney said he plans to run for re-election for his fourth and final one-year term. KAP presidents’ terms are capped at four consecutive one-year terms.
KAP’s general council passed two “water”-related resolutions. One calls on KAP to work with the federal government, the Prairie provinces, local municipalities, conservation districts and farmers “to research the long-term needs of water on the southern Prairies, with a particular emphasis on southwestern Manitoba and with the objective of maximizing the total arable acres in the province.”
Delegates also passed a resolution calling on KAP to be involved in establishing the Assiniboine River Basin Commission.
In 2011 the worst flooding along the Assiniboine River in more than 100 years cost the province more than $1 billion.
The Prairie Innovation Network is working to set up a steering committee to do just that KAP vice-president Dan Mazier said. The first meeting is set for Oct. 30 in Winnipeg, he said.
Delegates passed a resolution to assess farmland purchased by conservation groups at the commercial rates. According to the resolution conservation groups such as Ducks Unlimited are outbidding local farmers for the purchase of farmland.
Delegates also passed a motion to lobby the Manitoba government to remove out-of-province ownership restrictions and the $5,000 cap on the Farmland School Tax Rebate Program.
Delegates defeated a resolution calling on KAP to “organize a mass demonstration” to oppose the forced amalgamations of municipalities of fewer than 1,000 citizens.
“This isn’t democratic,” said resolution mover Bill Campbell from Minto. “This isn’t right. It isn’t wanted. It isn’t demanded. It’s just not right.”
Several delegates agreed with Campbell but said they couldn’t support a demonstration.
Dauphin farmer Don Dewar said a lot of people have to attend to make a demonstration effective “and it’s getting cold.”
Chuck Fossay of Starbuck said it’s better for KAP to lobby against the policy rather than risk a poor turnout.
Theresa Bergsma, secretary-manager of the Manitoba Corn Growers Association, suggested a letter-writing campaign and working on the Progressive Conservative opposition to considering reversing the policy if it forms the next government.