Minister Leal visits Ottawa-area farm to observe weather damage
Dwight Foster estimates he’s lost $200,000 worth of crops
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
Members of the Ontario Government recently witnessed first-hand the extensive damage some Ottawa-area farmers are facing after heavy rains flooded fields.
Jeff Leal, the provincial agriculture minister, visited a farm in North Gower, Ont., where significant rainfalls, including an estimated 250mm of precipitation in July, have slowed producers down.
"I truly appreciated the opportunity to visit Dwight Foster's farm in North Gower, one of several farms across the province that have been impacted by unseasonably bad weather this season," Minister Leal, who was accompanied by Lisa MacLeod, MPP for Nepean-Carleton, told Farms.com in an emailed statement. "I know the stress that farmers like Mr. Foster encounter when they are faced with adverse weather conditions."
Foster estimates about 500 acres and $200,000 worth of crops are unsalvageable.
“The crop that’s flooded is lost,” he told CTV. “What we’re trying to do is fix issues so that the water in the future can get off the fields.”
The best way for farmers to ensure they’re eligible to receive assistance in cases of severe weather damage is to sign up for business risk management programs, Leal said.
"I can't stress enough the importance of signing up for our Business Risk Management programs as a tool to cover losses and damage due to risks that are beyond producers' control, and thank our farmers for the hard work they do each and every day to make sure that Ontario families have food on their plates," Minister Leal said in his stament to Farms.com.
And with the newly agreed upon Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) set to come into effect on April 1, 2018, there could be more financial assistance available to farmers on a regional level.
Under CAP, business risk management programs like AgriStability and AgriInvest will undergo yearlong reviews to ensure farmers receive the maximum possible dollar amounts.
AgriRecovery, a program usually reserved for “complete devastation” according to Minister Leal, will also be reviewed and could accommodate regional issues.
“…when you have a regional problem that does tremendous damage, we want to make sure the federal government will be flexible to regional needs,” Leal told CBC.
Farms.com has reached out to Minister Leal’s office and to Dwight Foster for more information on the farm visit and the potential action farmers can expect from the government.
Top photo: Andrew Foote/CBC