Frustrations boil over at flooded out Manitoba farms
Farmers using Sea-Doos to access flooded farm lands west of Brandon
Frustrations are boiling over for farmers near Griswold, Man.
While much of the province’s attention is now focused on the crest anticipated at the Portage Diversion Wednesday night, farmers Kyle and Stan Cochrane are worried about thousands of dollars in losses.
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“We’re looking at the biggest flood, or one of the biggest floods, that we’ve ever had,” said Stan.
The father and son are using a Sea-Doo to access their 2000-acre sunflower field, which is entirely under water.
Their home is surrounded by water, and the highway typically used to access it is completely washed over.
Their soy bean crop is also completely destroyed.
The farm’s crop year this year will be zero, and if waters don’t recede soon, things will only get worse.
“If the flood lasts long enough that we don’t have the opportunity to get the land back in shape, we might not grow crops here next year either,” said Stan.
So far this year, one million acres of farm land has gone unseeded and another one million acres of crop have been destroyed by heavy rain.
“It’s not only in your fields, it’s in your basement and that’s where it gets into your personal space,” said Dan Mazier of Keystone Agricultural Producers. “My heart goes out to those people.
For Manitoba farmers, the damage could be worse than the devastating 2011 flood.
A lot of the frustration, according to Stan, comes from not knowing what’s going to happen next.
“We keep asking the same question: How much water are we going to have? How high is it going to go? When is it going to peak? And the so-called professionals can’t seem to answer those questions,” he said.
He wants to see the road raised and the forecasting and drainage model reviewed. He said he doesn’t believe the province has been proactive in preventing or predicting flooding in rural Manitoba.
“They don’t seem to do anything about anything unless it’s close to Winnipeg,” said Stan.