Man. cattle producers air grievances with province

At the annual meeting for Manitoba Beef Producers, held Feb. 6-7 in Brandon, cattle producers brought forward about 40 resolutions for discussion.

 

By Robert Arnason, The Western Producer (Canada) 

February 10, 2020

 

Manitoba cattle producers are still concerned about access to Crown Lands.

 

At the annual meeting for Manitoba Beef Producers, held Feb. 6-7 in Brandon, cattle producers brought forward about 40 resolutions for discussion.

 

Of those 40, about 20 were resolutions on the agricultural Crown Lands leasing program in Manitoba.

 

In October, the provincial government announced changes to the leasing program. A public auction would replace the old approach; a complex points system to determine who earned the right to lease agricultural crown land.

 

The MBP supported that change but not other alterations to the system. The province reduced the term of leases to a 15-year maximum, instead of 50 years.

 

Cattle producers pushed back against that change and the government relented.

 

The term is still 15 years, but the province gave producers the first right of renewal.

 

“Giving existing forage lease holders the option to renew their legacy leases for additional terms provides the consistency they need for their operations,” said former agriculture minister Ralph Eichler in October. “This will enable succession planning for family farms.”

 

Despite that improvement, cattle producers remain frustrated.

 

Many of the resolutions at the AGM were connected to rental rates, which will be significantly higher.

 

“There’s been a fairly substantial increase in the cost. The new rental rate formula has put quite a bit more (cost) onto that forage lease,” said Carson Callum, Manitoba Beef Producers general manager. “We’ve heard various accounts (on cost)…. It’s about double.”

 

Provincial reps have said the changes are necessary, to ensure that young farmers and new entrants have access to agricultural Crown Lands.

 

“That’s the approach we’ve heard from the government, as well,” Callum said...

 

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