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Ag is on Premier Pallister’s agenda

Ag is on Premier Pallister’s agenda

Manitoba’s re-elected premier released the plan for his government’s first 100 days

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Manitobans have an idea of what Premier Brian Pallister’s government will focus on early in its second term.

The premier released a letter on Thursday outlining the government’s intentions for its first 100 days in office. And four actions are related to agriculture.

Three of these items fall under Manitoba Agriculture’s responsibility.

First, the ag ministry must enact the auction system for agriculture Crown lands and hold the first auction.

Pallister’s government passed the Crown Lands Amendment Act in Nov. 2018 to proceed with auctions for allocation and rent for cropping and grazing on Crown land.

“A public auction will improve the efficiency and transparency of the allocation of leases and permits to producers, while letting producers determine the value of these allocations,” Manitoba Agriculture said in an information document about the auction process.

Second, Minister Ralph Eichler’s ministry must reduce provincial red tape for farmers.

The ministry must identify barriers “that unnecessarily restrict the ability of Manitoba farmers to produce food for local markets and limit the ability of consumers to connect directly with producers,” Pallister’s letter says.

The ag ministry is also responsible for submitting at least five ideas to the Ideas Fund within the first 100 days.

Pallister’s government created the $50-million fund in 2018 to encourage public servants to think of ways to increase government efficiencies.

Another policy affecting farmers falls under the responsibility of Colleen Mayer, minister of Crown services.

Pallister asked Mayer to approach Efficiency Manitoba, a Crown corporation dedicated to energy conservation, about initiating a retrofit program worth $25 million annually to “spur investment in energy-saving products for homes, commercial buildings and farms.”

Farms.com has reached out to Eichler and Keystone Agricultural Producers for comment on Pallister’s requests.

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