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MFGA Lands Conservation Trust Projects

Last week, the Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association (MFGA) received official public notice from Manitoba Agriculture & Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen and the Province of Manitoba’s Conservation Trust that two MFGA-led projects and one partnership project had received 2021 approval.

Via the two 2021 one-year MFGA-led farmer-focused projects, MFGA will work with on-the-ground project leaders from Ducks Unlimited Canada (Manitoba); Assiniboine West, Central Assiniboine, and Souris River Watershed Districts; and a partnership with the Manitoba Organic Alliance to develop a Grazing website modelled after a successful effort stateside. This is the third year that MFGA has successfully applied for projects via the unique-to-Manitoba Conservation Trust.

The 2021 announcement brings the MFGA project tally to seven projects over that time.

“The ultimate goal for MFGA is producer profitability resulting from healthy agricultural lands being managed with wise land-use practices that vastly improve soil, water and air quality,” said MFGA Chair Larry Wegner. “When combined with our producer networks, our growing leadership profile on Regenerative Agriculture and the successful projects on our resume, MFGA’s constant focus on the interests of producers and working with project partners really is a winning formula for all. We are proud to have the opportunity to successfully deliver all three of these excellent projects.”

The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC) announced $2.8 million in new grants to 23 projects delivered by 20 Manitoba-based agricultural and conservation groups.

The 2021 MFGA Projects and the Conservation Trust Category and funding are:

- Conservation Trust Category: Wildlife and Habitat: A new approach to restoring profitability, wildlife habitat and soil health on a watershed basis: $240,000 to the Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association to work closely with Ducks Unlimited Canada for one year to engage farmers with farmers to conserve wetlands and develop grasslands and forages on surrounding croplands to improve soil health, water and nutrient capture and wildlife habitat. The project – which follows a successful delivery of a similar project in 2020 - will deliver an incentive-based forage program that restores grasslands and protects the adjacent wetlands. Two distinct forage programs that sign long-term agreements with private landowners will be delivered that targets both grain and cattle producers. Success of the proposed project will be measured by the number of grassland acres restored and the number of wetlands protected by the programs.

- Conservation Trust Category: Soil Health: Soil Health and Cover Crops for Producers and Wildlife: $100,000 for MFGA to lead a one-year project for new producers from the Central Assiniboine, Assiniboine West and Souris River Watershed Districts to target 3,600 acres in cover and relay crops to improve the health of the soil, increase profit at the farm gate and advance continued improvement in ecological services being delivered from the farming landscape. With the project goal to increase cover and relay crops, the project will support landowners’ Regenerative Agriculture practices that benefit their farms and the soils of their operations by keeping living roots in the ground for as many days of annual sunlight as possible.

- Conservation Trust Project: Improving soil stewardship on Manitoba organic farms: As a part of a larger project, the Manitoba Organic Alliance and MFGA are excited to be partnering together on a joint project partly funded by the Conservation Trust. The partners will build and coordinate a grazing exchange website to make it easier for livestock producers to connect with grain producers. Integrating livestock onto crop and pastureland is becoming increasingly adopted by climate-friendly farmers who are building their soil health and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

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