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Help is available to make the transition

The Manitoba Organic Transition Program (MOTP) is a program being administered through MAFRI GO (Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatiative – Growing Opportunities) and was recently set up to “help farmers discover the rewards of organic agriculture.”

“I think that if you are interested, you should definitely take a look into transitioning to organics,” said Jolene Gardiner, extension co-ordinator at Pilot Mound MAFRI – GO office. “There is lots of potential out there for niche marketing, and for local and provincial marketing. There is a huge consumer awareness now, and more people want to know where their food comes from.”

The program’s goal is to help financially with the transition of farmland, livestock operations, and processing facilities to certified organic status. The MOTP is a three-year program, set to run in the 2008, 2009, and 2010 growing years. Already-accredited producers and processors may also qualify to receive reimbursement of two-thirds of the cost of their certification fees, up to a maximum $800 per year, and can discuss this with MAFRI staff, said Gardiner.

The MOTP program applies to producers and processors growing or processing organic grain, livestock, fruits, vegetables, or any other plant, animal or food product.

To apply for help through the program in transitioning to organic status, producers must complete a Manitoba Organic Transition Program Application Form, which is available through MAFRI GO offices. To download both an information brochure and a MOTP application form go to: www.gov.mb.ca/agricultureand click on the MOTP link. Submit completed applications to the Manitoba Organic Transition Program Administrator, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, Box 1149, 65-3rd Avenue N. E., Carman, Manitoba, R0G 0J0.

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