In 1975, Murray Downing took over the management of his family’s farm. During the 1980s, the Downings fought through some trying times: drought, rising input costs, and programs that fell short of needs.
The most significant event in the 1980s was the interest rate hikes. Many farmers in the area succumbed to pressures from financial institutions on loans that literally doubled in less than six months.
A few short years of recovery followed, when things went along on a fairly positive note. Then in 1998, heavy June rains hit Southwest Manitoba and ruined potentially good crops.
In addition to this set back, most of Southwest Manitoba was under water in the next year. Sloughs became lakes and the majority of crops were never planted that spring.
At that point, enough was enough, and Mr. Downing felt he had to do something.
An organization called the Grassroots Producers was formed and Mr. Downing developed a program called the Income Assurance Program (IAP) which set out to gain the confidence of farmers.
The Honourable Lyle Vanclief, former federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, invited Mr. Murray to Ottawa where he participated in discussions about farm programs.
Encouragement from this peers and from federal members of Parliament to further his efforts as a member of Parliament has brought him to his current position as the Liberal candidate for the Brandon-Souris constituency.