KAP delegates demand federal government consult farmers before cutting programs

Minto farmer Bill Campbell told KAP’s General Council Ottawa’s unilateral changes in farm programs amount to bad government. KAP delegates want farmers to be consulted before the federal or provincial government change farm policy.  photos: allan dawson

Minto farmer says end to beef research program at Brandon is the latest 
in a string of government decisions made without consultation

Ernie Sirski_ADawson_c_opt.jpegOttawa should have consulted farmers before making the “unilateral” decision to close the beef research program at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Brandon Research Centre, say delegates to Keystone Agricultural Producers’ recent general council meeting.

“This is just bad, bad, bad government,” said Minto farmer Bill Campbell, who moved the resolution calling on the federal government to consult farmers before making similar moves.

Not long after the Brandon cuts were announced, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced funds for beef and forage research in Saskatchewan, he noted.

“We had exactly that in Brandon but they just moved it to Saskatchewan now,” Campbell said.

The decision is the latest in a string of similar moves, he said, citing the end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly, increases in Canadian Grain Commission fees, and plans to close PFRA community pastures and the tree nursery at Indian Head, Sask. as other examples.

Campbell’s resolution was one of eight debated by KAP delegates. Six passed, one was referred to committee for more study, and one was defeated.

The latter was a resolution from District 3 calling on KAP to work with the canola industry to explore bringing back lindane insecticide to treat canola seed. Elm Creek farmer Calvin Penner said the resolution was in response to problems farmers had this spring controlling flea beetles.

Lindane was voluntarily withdrawn in 2004 because it persists in the environment and its reintroduction would cause trade issues with Canadian canola customers, said Ernie Sirski, a director with the Manitoba Canola Growers Association.

“I can assure you it will never be brought back in again,” he said.

A resolution calling for a separate crop insurance policy for land prone to artificial flooding was sent for further study as some delegates worried that might hurt rather than help farmers. Farmers currently are not compensated under crop insurance for crops lost due to artificial flooding if yields are high enough on other fields, as claims are based on total farm production.

Delegate resolutions also called on KAP to lobby for improvements to disaster financial assistance programs. Campbell said several rural municipalities in southwestern Manitoba don’t have enough money to fix roads and replace culverts washed out by recent heavy rains, even though much of the spending will be reimbursed under the disaster program. They also voted in favour of asking the Manitoba Agricultural Services Board to insure established canola stands, no matter how they were seeded.

The corporation does not insure crops sown by airplane, but Minto farmer David Rourke said that method worked for him in 2011 and if a crop is established, it should be eligible for insurance coverage.

Delegates also want Ottawa to allow farmers to defer income from the forced sale of all livestock, and to rebate fines collected from the railways for poor rail service to the shippers who launched the complaint.

That was sunflowers, not soybeans

The front-page photo in the July 25 issue contained the wrong caption. The cutline for that photo should have been: Reston-area farmers Hal Martin and his son Corey in what was a field of three-foot-high sunflowers until a devastating storm with hail and heavy rain swept through the region July 13. Their soybeans were severely damaged too. As well, Kendon Campbell is married to Sheila, not Shirley, as was stated in the accompanying story.

About the author


Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.



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