Man. promises action on grain dryer delays

Farmers in the province who want to install grain dryers must get approval from the Office of the Fire Commissioner

Manitoba’s government is offering hope to farmers frustrated by slow grain dryer approvals.

“We are dealing with this,” said Infrastructure Minister Blaine Pedersen during a provincial cabinet bearpit session at the Association of Manitoba Municipalities annual meeting.

“We will have more to say about this over the winter and ready for next spring.”

The issue was raised by Ste. Rose Mayor Rob Brunel, former leader of Keystone Agricultural Producers, who noted the frustration many farmers are facing getting approvals from the Office of the Fire Commissioner.

“The red tape … is ridiculous,” said Brunel.

Grain drying is more common in Manitoba than the rest of the Prairies due to the wetter growing conditions and the widespread growing of corn. Grain dryers are common on Manitoba grain farms and problem years, like this one, prompt farmers to buy new and used dryers to save the value of their crops.

Pedersen didn’t try to deny the situation.

“There has been a long and sordid history in getting grain dryers approved in Manitoba as compared to Saskatchewan and Alberta,” he said.

However, approvals for fire safety do need to be taken seriously.

“There have been grain dryers pulled out of the bush, that even the gas company won’t approve,” said Pedersen.

He said assigning a new assistant deputy minister to oversee the fire commissioner office has helped.

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