Letters – for Aug. 5, 2010

Not such a big deal

As I ponder whether or not I’ll be farming next year, I am also reviewing the terms and conditions of the 2010 Canada- Manitoba Excess Moisture Assistance program.

Are we flooded a bit? This is July 21 and we don’t have a bale yet to feed my 200 cows this winter. I have over 300 acres that even God couldn’t get to dry out any more this year. This is native hay with no drainage and a compounding beaver problem and carries no crop insurance due to back-to-back wet years.

I have over 300 acres of tame forage, or should I say was tame forage, as after this year all the plants will be drowned out. I mucked in two small fields of greenfeed early this year. After two months, where there is any plants left it’s four inches high and yellow.

I put 45 acres of oats in two fields which to date is not looking much better. Good thing I only pasture my cattle at one-quarter of what Crown lands charges me for carrying capacity, as they are pushed to the max.

Sound pretty bleak? Well, it is.

Back to why I am writing this letter – the big deal of aid from the Canada-Manitoba Excess Moisture Assistance program. I just crunched my operation’s numbers and I qualify for $180.

Rick Yanke Ashern, Man.

Bipole III route should be reconsidered

In her letter to the editor in the Manitoba Co-operatorJuly 22, Manitoba Hydro Minister Rosann Wowchuk trashes KAP president Ian Wishart’s view that Bipole III Hydro tower routes down the western route would degrade valuable farmland.

He argued that good farmland had to be worth at least as much as forest and muskeg.

One of the minister’s arguments for choosing the longer and more expensive western/ farmland routes was that it would require only “approximately three towers per mile.” Wherever I look in the province, the towers are a maximum of one-quarter of a mile apart, i. e. four (4) per mile, quite different from what she insinuates.

In dismissing Wishart’s proposal to route the Bipole III down the east side of Lake Winnipeg, the minister also ignored Wishart’s suggestion that the government explore an option “used in B. C. to obtain access for a gas line” through a First Nations preserve. “Access was granted in return for an annual payment to the First Nations tribe for maintaining environmental services – like ALUS – and they also have the right to eco-tourism in that area.”

This could be a win-win that would generate employment where meaningful employment is in particularly short supply; it has the possibility of pleasing everyone, including concerned First Nations groups, UNESCO World Heritage and all but the most squeamish environmentalist.

The various proponents of keeping this area “pristine” claim that to qualify means no roads, no hydro towers, and no development – leave it as is for another 1,000 years. This view may prove to be myopic.

I cannot help but think of another wildlife area called Banff National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage site for the past quarter of a century. Banff Park is apparently kept “pristine” despite its millions of visitors per year, transmission lines, a certain number of roads and even lots of wildlife. Surely there is a happy medium for this forgotten part of Manitoba. Bill Anderson Forrest, Man.

Please forward letters to Manitoba Co-operator, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, R3H 0H1 or Fax: 204-954-1422 or email: [email protected] (subject: To the editor)

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