6. Promoting Agricultural Water Stewardship
Family farms helped shape Manitoba and agricultural industries remain vital to our economy and our socio-economic stability – an estimated one in 10 jobs depends on agriculture either directly and indirectly (Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, Industry Intelligence Section). Agriculture is also vital to our culture and our contribution to the global challenge of maintaining sustainable food security. In turn, what happens on our land affects what happens in our water. Farmers play a pivotal role with respect to environmental stewardship. Their choices matter.
Whether growing crops or raising livestock, Manitoba producers are under pressure from all sides – squeezed by rising costs and expectations for ever-higher yields to meet the demands of an increasingly complex global market, and challenged by unpredictable and increasingly catastrophic weather. Their families’ wellbeing and the province’s economic prosperity depend on them being successful; the health of Lake Winnipeg depends on them being responsible.
Agricultural best management practices (BMPs) are actions taken by producers to minimize negative effects to the environment while maintaining or improving the quality of water, soil, air and biodiversity. Techniques such as managing manure and fertilizers, establishing holding ponds near animal feedlots and introducing alternate animal feeding strategies can be used to keep nutrients like phosphorus on our farms – and out of Lake Winnipeg. Through Action 6 of the Lake Winnipeg Health Plan, Promoting Agricultural Water Stewardship, LWF will build relationships with Manitoba’s agricultural community in order to connect farmers with the latest research. We will work collaboratively to support the implementation of cost-effective and ecologically responsible BMPs on crop land and animal pastures.