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Ag Action Manitoba adds to fundable farm projects

Farmers have until Feb. 22 to apply for 2019-20 beneficial management practice funding

Livestock producers and forage growers will feature heavily in the next round of farm funding under Ag Action Manitoba.

The province has added five beneficial management practices (BMPs) for assurance funding in 2019-20, most of which relate to perennial crops or livestock, on top of 10 management practices already on the books.

Why it matters: Producers can add five new management practices to the list of projects eligible for a financial boost in 2019-20.

Producers adding perennials to their rotation can apply for government to take on a quarter of seed, seedbed preparation or equipment costs, up to $10,000. The province has tied the practice with minimizing soil erosion, managing carbon, increasing biodiversity, providing habitat for pollinators and improving organic matter and soil nutrients.

Cost will be split evenly between farmer and province for the other additions. Farmers can get up to $10,000 to establish a perennial cover on vulnerable land — also earmarked for soil health and erosion concerns — or up to $50,000 for new or relocated housing to move livestock away from bodies of water. A similar $50,000 cap has been put on farmyard run-off control projects.

Duncan Morrison, executive director with the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association, said he was pleased to see forage and soil-related management practices retained for assurance funding.

“MFGA wants to see a healthy landscape-based suite of BMPs delivered by individual producers where collectively they weave together to benefit producers, communities and society as a whole,” he said. “Producers do a lot of good for Manitoba in so many respects, particularly the societal goods they provide via their own farming practices bolstered by funding programs such as the BMP program. If the BMPs are a tool designed to lead the aggregate group to a more sustainable, resilient and productive province, everyone wins.”

A final addition sets up to $15,000 for recapturing and recycling tile drainage water.

Brian Lemon, Manitoba Beef Producers general manager, said he was pleased to see grazing-oriented projects slated for future funding. The producer group has been pushing environmental management within their industry, including topics like soil carbon, managed grazing and soil health.

The livestock sector already stood to gain from existing BMPs, such as odour control, livestock control around riparian areas and pasture and forage improvement — BMPs that explicitly mention grazing management, well drilling and alternative watering systems.

“Those BMPs are going to be interesting to see what kind of uptake they get because I think they’re really progressive in a lot of ways,” he said. “We’ve heard stories this past year with the dry conditions that we had out there on the landscape that those producers who implemented some sort of management of their pastures were actually in a lot better shape than some of the ones who hadn’t. We look at those BMPS; they’re trying to encourage those sorts of activities and those sorts of changes in practices.

“It’ll be interesting to see how much money is going to be available in those programs to be able to see how many producers are going to be able to actually take advantage of those,” he added.

The new allowance for livestock relocation may gain uptake from producers if those projects make economic sense for their farm, Lemon said, posing the potential for facility redesign or expansion as part of the move.

In total, 15 management practices were eligible for allowance funding. Intercropping, resource management, cover crop establishment, subsurface water management, pesticide storage and secondary containment for liquid fertilizer fill out the 2019-20 assurance funding list.

The province is accepting funding applications until Feb. 22, 2019. Full details are available at the Manitoba Agriculture website.

About the author

Reporter

Alexis Stockford is a journalist and photographer with the Manitoba Co-operator. She previously reported with the Morden Times and was news editor of  campus newspaper, The Omega, at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. She grew up on a mixed farm near Miami, Man.

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