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Devastation of the Portage vegetable industry

It is shocking to hear today of the impending planned devastation of four of the biggest vegetable farms in the Portage la Prairie area tomorrow.

The provincial government has decided to breach the dikes east of Portage to save about 800 houses, and that will flood tens of thousands of acres. If it was low value land, that’d be a disaster for a few dozen individuals. But this land being flooded is also the heart of Manitoba’s vegetable industry, one that supports many plants and hundreds of employees, so it’s going to cause massive problems not just for the farms involved, but for the plants, employees, communities, marketing boards and cooperatives that rely on the basic agricultural production of the vegetable farms.

Farming is often ignored, taken for granted, forgotten about by urbanites who don’t think they are directly affected by what happens in farm country. That perception might change if these farms are knocked out of production this year.

A farm I’m visiting this afternoon has 140 employees. If they don’t have an income this year, the Portage economy is going to feel it.

It’s going to be very interesting to hear why the provincial flood authorities didn’t see this coming …

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