The province is making more than $2.5 million in flood assistance available to Assiniboine Valley producers who experienced financial loss due to excessive flooding of agricultural land between the Shellmouth reservoir and Brandon in 2010, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) Minister Stan Struthers announced late last month.
“Financial assistance is being extended to these producers to partially offset the flooding losses they experienced in 2010 caused by high flows from the Shellmouth reservoir when its capacity was exceeded due to a number of extreme rainfall events,” said Struthers. “This area has been particularly hard hit by excessive moisture and flooding, and this financial assistance is necessary to help producers through these challenging times.”
The Assiniboine Valley Producers Flood Compensation Program provided more than $900,000 in 2005, $380,000 in 2006 and $195,000 in 2007. For 2010, native hay, pasture and the restoration of forage crops are included in the program.
“Producers in the Assiniboine Valley are busy making plans for the 2011 crop year and knowing this assistance is available will provide the much-needed support for those ongoing crop, forage and pasture management plans,” said the minister. “It is our intention to get this money into their pockets now, when they need it most.”
The 2010 program will again be managed through the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC). Payments will complement existing crop production and excess-moisture insurance payments. AgriInsurance participants will be sent an application. Application forms will be made available for uninsured producers by mid-January.
The Assiniboine River Flood Compensation Steering Committee, composed of representatives
from Manitoba Water Stewardship, MAFRI, MASC, the Assiniboine Valley Producers Association, the Agriculture Environmental Services Branch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization, continues to work on a long-term solution to flooding attributed to the operation of the Shellmouth reservoir.
The risk of spring flooding in the Assiniboine Valley below the Shellmouth reservoir is high again this year, particularly because of a lake drainage project in eastern Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority was scheduled this week to build an emergency channel out of Fishing Lake northwest of Yorkton to lower high water levels endangering nearby communities. The Manitoba government fears much of the water will drain into the upper Assiniboine River and ultimately the Shellmouth reservoir. The Shellmouth is already at a record-high level for the season. Manitoba Water Stewardship officials worry the additional outflow from Fishing Lake will coincide with the spring run-off and add to the Assiniboine flooding risk.
“Itisourintentionto getthismoneyinto theirpocketsnow,when theyneeditmost.”