Keystone Agricultural Producers is voicing its concerns over provisions contained in the recently passed "Save Lake Winnipeg Act" and the impact it will have on agriculture.
Bill 46, which was passed in mid-June in the Manitoba legislature, contains new provisions designed to reduce the amount of nutrients, particularly phosphorus, entering Lake Winnipeg including extending a 2008 moratorium on new hog barn construction or expansion in the eastern part of Manitoba, to the entire province.
Keystone Agricultural Producers President Doug Chorney, on hand yesterday in Brandon for KAP's general council meeting, says Manitoba's pork producers have an excellent record with regards to environmental stewardship and he fears the restriction will make hog production within the province economically unviable.
Clip-Doug Chorney-Keystone Agricultural Producers:
The hog producers that I have farming in my neighborhood in East Selkirk are very good stewards of the land.
They use manure management planning, they have these plans approved by government, they do direct injection of liquid manure and you almost never have any run-off or odor.
It's all done in way that's meant to be sustainable.
They want to protect the ground water and the environment around their farms because that's where they live.
I think our hog producers have been really leading the way in terms of being stewards of the environment and it's unfair at this time that we see government clamping down on just one sector of our industry.
With the Save Lake Winnipeg act the regulatory authority could come in the future to regulate all types of agricultural production in the province including crop production.
We're not against being part of the solution for Lake Winnipeg but we don't think that our industry should be singled out on its own.
Chorney says farmers are very careful not to waste nutrients and spend thousands of dollars on specialized equipment to ensure they maximize the value of their fertilizer.
He stresses Manitoba farmers compete in a global market and if they've got regulations their competitors don't have they won't be able to compete.