The National Farmers Union (NFU) has expressed appreciation to Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires for establishing the Growing Outcomes in Watersheds (GROW) Program, which will provide a $52 million endowment that should generate roughly 2 to 3 million dollars annually for Manitoba farmers to protect and enhance the environmental values on their land.
“With more erratic weather, major storms, flood and drought affecting our profitability and way of life, we know how important it is to prevent climate change from getting worse,” said Deleau area farmer, Ian Robson, NFU Manitoba Regional Coordinator. “The GROW Program will help farmers invest in protecting the natural systems that keep carbon in the ground.”
“In Manitoba water retention on the land is important for flood prevention and improving water quality downstream, and this initiative will help reduce pressure on farmers to drain sloughs,” noted NFU Board member Dean Harder of Lowe Farm, Manitoba. “With the GROW Program we also see an opportunity for farmers with marginal land to make important contributions to the climate change battle. Keeping wetlands intact is crucial due to the large amount of carbon they sequester. It is also much easier and cheaper to keep carbon in existing wetlands than to try to put back soil carbon released when land is cultivated.”
“The GROW Program is a good first step that will help farmers invest in environmental solutions,” added Robson. “As a stakeholder organization, the NFU in Manitoba is looking forward to participating in the consultations that will develop the details of this program and create a base for expanding and deepening the on-farm environmental enhancement efforts we will need to make a substantial impact.”
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For more information:
Ian Robson, NFU Manitoba Regional Coordinator: (204) 858-2479
Dean Harder, NFU Region 5 (Manitoba) Board member: (204) 797-6388