More than 40 projects will receive a total of $704,000 in targeted financial assistance through the Agricultural Crown Lands Forage Productivity Pilot Program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson announced Friday.

“Manitoba’s producers are stewards of this land and are helping to ensure it continues to thrive,” said Bibeau. “With this investment to the pilot program, the Government of Canada is helping to provide Manitoba producers with the resources they need to adopt climate-friendly practices that improve pasture productivity and further protect the environment.”

In all, 42 projects have been approved for the one-year pilot project, the ministers noted. These projects will receive up to $30,000 with a cost share ratio of 75 per cent government and 25 per cent applicant, and must be completed by December 2022.

“The funds committed through this project will enable Manitoba agricultural Crown lands forage lease holders to increase productivity and sustainability by adopting beneficial practices that support comprehensive forage management,” said Johnson. “Pilot programs such as this help make much-needed improvements that have long-term benefits for producers and industry.”

Forage lease holders in good standing with the agricultural Crown lands program were eligible to apply for funding for planning, infrastructure or rejuvenation activities related to forage management techniques that would improve productivity and sustainability. Recipients were required to complete an environmental farm plan.

Eligible projects include the development of grazing management plans, the targeted placement of key infrastructure components such as cross-fencing, wells or dugouts, and the rejuvenation of forage lands through measures such as seeding and brush management.

“Manitoba Beef Producers thanks the federal and provincial governments for supporting this pilot project,” said Tyler Fulton, president, Manitoba Beef Producers. “Beef producers recognize the value of beneficial management practices when it comes to managing their pastures and forage production. Investments made through this program will help producers realize greater productivity and resilience on Crown land leases, which are a key component of a sustainable beef industry in Manitoba.”

The partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors. This includes a $2-billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.