Injured Manitoba farm workers will become eligible for Workers Compensation Board benefits starting Thursday.

The mandatory coverage was announced by the provincial government a number of months ago.

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Manitoba has mandated that all farm workers be covered by workers compensation starting in 2009.

The Workers Compensation Board says the new coverage will help to protect farm employees and minimize liability for farm employers.

Adding injury coverage may also help attract workers back into the agriculture industry, as farm worker benefits will be comparable with other industries, the board says.

But mandatory coverage will also mean increased costs and paperwork for producers.

In some instances, it could also mean poorer coverage, because many farm employees were already covered by private insurance.