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PCs Must Support Agricultural Producers Facing Drought and Financial Hardships

Treaty One Territory, Métis Homeland, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberals are calling on the PCs to work with the Federal Government and immediately offer supports to agricultural producers to avoid many bankruptcies due to severe drought across the province.

Jon Gerrard, MLA for River Heights and Manitoba Liberal Agriculture Critic, met with many municipal leaders and agricultural livestock producers yesterday to discuss their situation.

"Many farmers are in terrible financial situations after continuous years of drought," said Gerrard. "Livestock producers are already selling much or all of their stock - either to make their finances work temporarily, or to leave the industry all together."

Manitoba Liberals say one solution is a payout program to producers based on a per animal basis so they can afford to feed their livestock, which should involve all livestock - including cattle, sheep, bison, and goats.

The cost could be shared between the Federal and Provincial Governments. This would allow farmers to keep their livestock and buy feed, rather than prematurely selling them at a loss.

Arik Lindal only recently took over his family's cattle farm, but may need to sell over half his livestock due to consecutive years of drought.

"Agricultural producers are in a dire situation, especially here in the Interlake, but also across Manitoba," said Lindal. "We need support from our Provincial and Federal Governments very soon otherwise producers are going to be out of business."

A recent program was announced by the PCs to cost-share on digging for wells and dugouts for producers. They are to work with their local Manitoba Agricultural Service Centres (MASC) office. However, Manitoba Liberals say many farmers are unable to reach MASC when they call or leave messages to discuss their disastrous situations to access this program.

"It is clear that many farmers are suffering across Manitoba due to years of drought and lack of investments needed to support them," said Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface. "The PCs must work with the Federal Government and immediately offer assistance before farms across the province disappear, and generations of family farms are lost."

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