The Rural Municipality of Rhineland lies along the Canada-U.S.A. border in south central Manitoba. Part of the province's Central Plains Region, the community is roughly 100 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, Manitoba's Capital. The municipality is a mix of rural and small urban communities with a population of just over 4200 residents.
The R.M. of Rhineland surrounds the incorporated towns of Altona, Gretna, and Plum Coulee, adding another 5000 residents to the population of the immediate area.
It was primarily people of Dutch Mennonite origins from southern Russia who first settled in the Rhineland area. Many of these people arrived between 1874 and 1875 at the request and invitation of the Dominion Government, which was eager to bring agriculture to the Prairie Provinces.
In 1883, as the population of the area grew, preliminary steps began to form some type of local government. The municipality was incorporated under the name Douglas in 1884 and on January 8th of that year, the first council meeting was held. In early 1891, the name of the community was changed from Douglas to Rhineland, and the municipality's boundary was expanded westward.
In 1917, some of this land was transferred back to a neighbouring municipality and Rhineland took on its present configuration. From its beginnings, the community was built on courage and determination, and these same characteristics make Rhineland what it is today.
The Rural Municipality of Rhineland encompasses some of the finest farmland in North America and maybe the world. Agriculture is the cornerstone of Rhineland's economy. The fertile soil combined with unusually high temperatures and a long growing season make Rhineland the perfect place to grow many conventional and specialty crops.
Cereal grains and oilseeds make up a large portion of production for the area, but the climate is also well suited to sunflowers, corn, beans, field peas, potatoes, and a variety of different vegetable crops. The Rhineland area is one of the few areas in Canada well suited to growing soybeans. There are also some small livestock operations in the area.
Many local businessmen have set up shops to cater to the region's farmers. Throughout the community, several businesses provide supplies, inputs and equipment ranging from seed, fertilisers and chemicals to equipment, parts and mechanical services.
Small and medium sized manufacturing firms exist in many of the urbanised communities, and in the incorporated centres of Altona, Gretna, and Plum Coulee. Many of these firms produce agriculturally based products such as equipment and parts. Some however, produce specialty goods for domestic shipment and international export.