Manitoba farmers have had a rough couple of years, between environmental disasters and pandemic challenges, but there’s a lot more optimism for the 2023 season.
“We had three years of drought, a worsening drought every year, and then the heavy, heavy snowfall of the previous winter,” said Trevor Sund, a Manitoba beef producer.
“We were so wet in the spring and people were having so much trouble fighting the mud in a way that we haven’t had before. And so it was a very challenging time, very tough time.”
Additionally, inflation has hit agriculture hard with ranchers having to deal with high fuel costs.
“Everything requires transportation and it requires fuel to harvest the feed and put the feed up, just to bring in supplies,” Sund said.
Meanwhile, the poultry industry had similar stresses. On a southeastern Manitoba farm with 30,000 chickens, farmer Evy Wiebe saw her costs go up.
“We’ve noticed an increase in the cost of production with natural gas because we do have to heat our barns in winter. So that is an additional cost.” Wiebe said.
And on an egg farm just outside of Winnipeg hen feed has become more expensive.
“There have been cost increases for most people which is then passed down partially to our consumer,” said Sanda Dyck, a Manitoba egg farmer.
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This year, farmers are keeping a close eye on avian flu but overall they have a different outlook for the New Year.
“We’ve had a little bit of avian influenza and some of the disease from the migrating birds.” Said Wiebe.
And egg farmers are excited about the increase in egg consumption.
“The future is looking really bright. So we’re really, really excited about increases, about people really using it for all meals of the day, not just for breakfast food.” said Dyck.
At one Manitoba ranch calving season is underway and the ground is showing signs of grass growth.
“The future is looking good as far as calf prices this fall and everyone is kind of breathing a sigh of relief that everything is going back to normal.” said Sund.
Despite the many challenges those in the field have faced it has not impacted their passion for the industry.
“The future is bright. We’re pretty optimistic. We’re very hopeful. And yeah, it’s a great industry, and agriculture as a whole is a great industry to be a part of,” said Dyck.
“We have our challenges just like everything else but the community here and the support we feel and the support for each other is really beneficial.”
— With files from Global’s Teagan Rasche
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