Federal-Provincial-Territorial Annual Meeting of Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Agriculture

NEWS RELEASE – Ministers Announce Flooding Response Strategy

KANANASKIS, AB, July 8, 2005 – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Andy Mitchell, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk, and Treasury Board President and Minister Responsible for Manitoba Reg Alcock, today announced a strategy to assist Manitoba producers impacted by severe flooding.

“This is a serious situation that needs a quick and effective response,” said Minister Mitchell. “Given the importance of assisting producers as soon as possible, we have made this initiative a priority.”

The ministers announced that over the coming weeks, Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization (CAIS) program staff will be available in Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) GO Centres and Offices to sit down with individual producers and assist them with the completion of their 2005 CAIS interim application forms and where applicable their 2004 CAIS applications. The 2005 interim payments will be available to producers in early fall 2005.

“Producers need access to 2005 CAIS payments as soon as possible,” said Minister Wowchuk. “By assisting and encouraging producers to complete their interim applications as soon as possible, we’re ensuring that funds will flow quickly to those hit hard by this severe weather.”

“It’s important that our governments work in partnership to facilitate access to assistance programs,” said Minister Alcock. “We remain committed to helping Manitoba producers through this difficult period.”

At the annual conference of federal / provincial / territorial ministers of agriculture this week, ministers discussed a CAIS advance to pro-actively target assistance to commodities or regions experiencing a farm income disaster, including the possibility of increasing the advance. The CAIS advance under consideration would allow affected producers to automatically be notified of their eligibility for a targeted advance. Ministers committed to an announcement on these matters as soon as possible.

Ministers Mitchell, Wowchuk and Alcock affirmed their commitment to assess and respond to the situation in a timely manner. They also agreed to continue consulting with industry and build on the close working relationship between federal and provincial officials, who are working together to examine the programs currently available to producers, including CAIS and Production Insurance, to ensure that programs are adequate and appropriate to deal with the situation.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
(613) 759-7972
1 (866) 345-7972

Elizabeth Whitting
Minister Mitchell's office
(613) 759-1059

Colin Lemoine
Cabinet Communications
Government of Manitoba
(204) 945-1494