Interlake livestock producers sound alarm amid disastrous drought in Manitoba

NEAR TEULON, MAN — Livestock producers in the Interlake are calling for immediate help from the provincial and federal governments to deal with the extreme drought.

Nearly 100 producers gathered for a rally west of Teulon Wednesday to bring attention to the issue.

Orval Procter, a councillor for the R.M. of Woodlands and a beef producer, helped organize the rally.

He said producers want financial assistance and more Crown land and Wildlife Management Areas opened for haying and grazing.

“The hay and stuff, you don’t know where it’s going to come from,” Procter said. “Some of the land here hasn’t been hayed for 10 years. It may not be the best but every eight bales of hay can save a cow.”

Producers said dugouts have dried up, grazing land and hay crops have been decimated, in part by grasshoppers and cattle prices are down.

Many have already started liquidating their herds, fearing they won’t be able to feed their animals

“Anything that I have to sell is going to be worth nothing,” Procter said.

John Dyck raises 125 head of cattle west of Teulon. He showed CTV News Winnipeg dried up dugouts on his land, which means he has to haul water three times a day to keep his herd hydrated.

“We had water until 10 days ago. We have three dugouts here and they’re all dry,” Dyck said. “When we get to the yard, you can see the grass — it’s like pavement.”

Conservative MP James Bezan, Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard and NDP MLA Diljeet Brar were in attendance and joined organizers on a tour of the area.

The politicians told attendees they’re pushing provincial and federal agriculture ministers to come up with aid and assistance to help producers in all sectors.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau told CTV News she will be in Manitoba this week to meet with families in the Interlake region.

“This extreme weather is causing extreme stress for many farm families, and my main message to them is that our Government is here to help and respond as fast as we can,” Bibeau said in a statement.

Bibeau said prairie provinces have requested an AgriRecovery disaster relief program.

“Federal and provincial officials are now working together to do the assessments and design those programs province-by-province,” she said.

“We are working around the clock to turn those around as quickly as possible to help farmers with extraordinary costs they face.” 

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