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Manitoba ag prepares for climate-related risks

Jan. 6, 2016 - Manitoba's agriculture industry today made several recommendations on ways the industry can prepare for climate-related risks that will lay the foundation for future discussions on how climate change affects agriculture risk levels, Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced today.

The provincially appointed task force, comprised of industry stakeholders, provided 25 recommendations on how agricultural risk management needs to evolve to grow a competitive industry as it copes with a changing climate. Over the past year, it has reviewed research and met with producers, scientists, insurance providers and others invested in agriculture and climate-change preparedness.

"Manitoba can position itself as a leader in agriculture risk management by recognizing and instituting best practices in our province and encouraging producers across the country to follow suit," said Minister Kostyshyn. "This task force has done tremendous work to show how governments and producers can work together to be better prepared for the effects of climate change."

The recommendations put forward include:
• promoting policies and programs that are responsive to climate-change impacts and encourage agricultural best practices;
• continuing to develop the Excess Moisture Insurance program to ensure long-term viability;
• researching and developing new insurance tools such as weather derivatives and whole-farm revenue insurance;
• restoring federal funding to public research in climate change mitigation and adaptation for the agriculture sector;
• renewing funding in conservation districts to improve drainage or water storage in current problem areas;
• encouraging collaboration between the Manitoba government and other partners on advanced climate and weather forecasting programs;
• providing predictable compensation for producer's losses due to mitigation measures;
• sharing elevation and water-management data to benefit agro-environment policy, government programs and on-farm best practices; and
• investing in education and extension programs.

The Manitoba Agriculture Risk Management Review Task Force was appointed by Minister Kostyshyn in January 2015 to evaluate existing programs and policies used to help farmers recover from climate-related challenges such as flooding and drought.

The task force complete report is available at www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/business-and-economics/agri-risk-task-force.html.