Manitoba farmers have $1B in flood losses

June 22, 2011 at 9:09 AM   |   Comments

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, June 22 (UPI) -- Record seasonal flooding in Manitoba has caused $1 billion in losses to agriculture, with 3 million acres soaked and unusable, officials said.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Stan Struthers toured the southern areas still water-logged Tuesday and said "It's just a mess," the Winnipeg Free Press reported.

The amount of unusable arable land is more than double the previous record of 1.4 million acres in 2005 and as much as 20 percent of land won't be seeded this year, officials said.

Doug Chorney, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers, told the newspaper the flooding will have long-reaching effects.

"We're in a situation where it will take two months straight of dry weather for fields to drain, and that's not going to happen," he said. "I'm already worried about next year."

The agriculture minister said many farmers have insurance that will pay as much as $65 per unusable acre and the province and Canadian government are in talks to provide financial aid.

"We can help the farmer out with per-acre payouts that federal and provincial programs can supply and farmers can buy insurance, but farmers don't succeed that way," Struthers said. "They don't get rich on insurance plans."

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