New Agri Minister to Meet with Leaders and Farmers

CANADA - Manitoba's newly appointed agriculture minister says he's looking forward to meeting with farmers to get a handle on their needs and gather suggestions on what can be done to assist them, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 5 November 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

On Tuesday premier Greg Selinger named Dauphin-Roblin MLA Stan Struthers as minister of agriculture, food and rural initiatives replacing Rosann Wowchuk who has become the province's new finance minister.

Mr Struthers acknowledges this is challenging time for agriculture but it can also be exciting and he is looking forward to sitting down with leaders of all of the farm groups and meeting with as many farmers as he can as early as he can.

Stan Struthers-Manitoba Agriculture Minister

When you look at the hog industry there's farmers there who must find it awfully darned frustrating dealing with issues.

You make all the good decisions on your farm and then somebody half way around the world makes another decision that hits you upside of the head that's got to be frustrating.

We have to be in a position to help farmers that end up in those positions so when I meet with Manitoba Pork we'll be looking for ways to explore what kind of support we can move forward with.

In the past my predecessor Rosann Wowchuk and her department and a lot of different people worked hard to make sure that we worked against things like the COOL legislation in the United States.

We worked hard to try to increase slaughtering capacity to help producers that way.

We put some income support programs in place for hog farmers and that kind of an approach will continue and I'm looking foreword to meeting with groups to give me advice on that.

Mr Struthers estimates changes to the Targeted Advance Payments announced last month under which pork producers will be able to access 75 per cent of their estimated 2009 AgriStability payments, up from 60 per cent, will put 97 million dollars into the hands of pork producers.

He says he is looking forward to seeing what more can be considered however, he stresses, we have to remain cognoscente of our international trade obligations.

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