Overland flooding will dominate the conversation at the Keystone Agricultural Producers’ general council meeting in Brandon today.
Four resolutions from District 1, which is located in the southwest corner of the province, deal directly with water that will cripple farmers this year.
“Top of mind for our members right now is water and flooding conditions and how it is affecting our producers,” KAP president Doug Chorney said.
The resolutions request the agricultural group to lobby the provincial government on a number of fronts, including budgeting additional money to address future outflows on some of the province’s largest lakes, amending crop insurance for flooded farmers, allowing livestock producers to defer income and establishing an AgriRecovery program to compensate for losses.
On Wednesday, Chorney spent time speaking with provincial officials in Winnipeg, where he raised the concerns.
“There is a sense of despair and frustration from many of our members,” Chorney said. “Farmers are resilient, but when you get beat down like this twice in a matter of few years, you might find it harder to bounce back.”
The group also remains committed to changes to surface water management. Chorney said the Red River Basin Commission has been effective at bringing stakeholders in the watershed together and would like to see a similar approach for the Assiniboine River.
Drainage to the west also continues to be a problem.
“We want to make sure farmers can drain their land, but we also have to mindful of what the downstream consequences are,” Chorney said.
“In Saskatchewan, we’ve seen less regulation on drainage and many of our members on the western border of the province feel there is water coming in faster than they’ve seen it come in their lifetimes.”
Chorney believes farmers are willing to store more water in order to protect urban areas if they are fairly compensated for it, and that, in the long run, could save taxpayers money fighting floods.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 10, 2014