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Letters – for Feb. 26, 2009

Farmers prefer cheques from the marketplace

In response to the editorial “Give us the tax break and no one gets hurt” which appeared in the Feb. 12, 2009 edition of the Manitoba Co-operator, I would like to note that Dave Bedard carried forward some good discussion on why farmers should get “tax credits” for doing food safety paperwork.

As he correctly noted, we should get these rewards from the marketplace – something we would all support. Also mentioned was the fact that outside of supply management, this is extremely hard to do. Most processors are international in nature, or at least base pricing on international competition.

This leaves Canadian producers competing against imported products in most retail locations, and the producers of those imports have not necessarily met the same on-farm food safety, environmental and labour standards that Canadian producers must meet. Under Canada’s lax labelling rules, consumers who would prefer to “buy Canadian” in support of Canadian farmers are further left wondering which product comes from where. Further to this, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency was chastened recently for spending more time and effort inspecting Canadian-produced products than on imports.

Bedard’s final point on distributing recognition is correct, but the marketplace is unlikely to let this happen. Should we look for other ways to recognize producers’ efforts on behalf of all? You bet!

Ian Wishart, President Keystone Agricultural Producers

Off-road riders need training

As 30-year residents and farmers a few kilometres southwest of Lorette, we have experienced an explosion of very young children, teens and adults riding their quads, dirt bikes, snow machines, and “smash ’em up derby” trucks. These people live throughout the region; some are close-by neighbours who live on one-to two-acre parcels, along municipal roads, provincial highways and in nearby towns. Friends tow their machines to visit residents of this rural area and ride on nearby fields and roads.

Their “off-road” vehicles travel throughout rural areas. Crop and hayfield damage and their constant travel on our land is a new reality. Our NO TRESPASSING signs are not respected. Last year, quad and snowmobile tracks went with a metre of the sign on the winter wheat field. Speaking to neighbours and asking them to stay off the crop and hayland has no effect. They seem to feel an entitlement to use farmland (private property) and public roads as their playground.

A process needs to start requiring mandatory licensing of drivers achieved by attending a workshop, and passing a test to get their own licence, mandatory registration of these types of machines and mandatory placement of licence plates – perhaps on the hood or back of the machines. At present if there is a licence plate, it is hidden by footwear and clothing.

Our entire family attended a pleasure boating safety course in 2007. This was a very informative eight-hour course. It is mandatory in Canada. There were children, teens and adults attending and writing the test to achieve their own personal licence.

We ask that the same requirements to educate, test and license drivers be planned for the off-road vehicles. There are so many deaths and “near misses” occurring these days.

We do not feel he police are responsible for this phenomenon. The police are dealing with serious crimes and saving lives.

Nancy and Leigh Cullen Lorette, Man.

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

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