Farmers welcome move to reduce red tape

For years, the Manitoba Pork Council has claimed the province’s hog industry is the “most highly regulated” in North America.

It’s difficult to prove that sort of statement, but Manitoba hog producers do have to comply with numerous pieces of legislation, including the Environment Act, the Planning Act, the Save Lake Winnipeg Act and the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulations.

Besides the hog industry, regulations became a constant source of conflict between Manitoba’s farm community and the provincial government during the NDP’s 17 years in power.

Consequently, agricultural groups are pleased with the new provincial government, which has promised to reduce and simplify business regulations.

“We will soon establish a Red Tape Reduction Task Force to eliminate the needless impediments that frustrate business owners and individual citizens,” Finance Minister Cameron Friesen said in late May during the first budget speech for the Progressive Conservative government, which was elected in April.

Dan Mazier, Keystone Agricultural Producers president, said the excessive regulations curbed growth and profits within Manitoba’s ag industry.

“On average, half of the policies we adopt each year are related to these challenges…. The amount of regulations (on) expanding (a farm) is getting to be quite cumbersome,” he said. “Farm buildings… depending on what area of the province you are… a person can do one thing in one part of the province and can’t do (it) in another part… and no one can explain why.”

Moving equipment from field to field can also cause headaches because farmers must satisfy rules on equipment length and height.

“If you have seeding equipment (and) you’re over 100 feet long, you have to get a permit for that. You have to renew your Hydro permit every 90 days for overheight,” Mazier said. “Things like that drive you nuts.”

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