The wet summer slamming the Edmonton area has brought agricultural disaster to Lac Ste. Anne County.
The area government made an official declaration Aug. 7 due to crop deaths as high as 80 per cent in some fields. This is the second year such a proclamation has been made. Last year it was done due to smoke and snow and this year it was brought about because of the rain.
“We are seeing the impacts within the county,” Stacy Berry, assistant county agricultural services manager said. “A lot of the land here is low lying, so when we get excess moisture farmers have difficulty accessing fields and, even when they can cut, it is hard to get crops dried out.”
Some of the area has received more than 400 millimetres of rain since June. A weather station in Edmonton logged more than 150 millimetres of rain last month and Environment Canada has referred to the heavy precipitation hitting the province as “generational.” The July 30 crop report indicated the Northwest-Edmonton region had generally positive crop statistics in spite of the weather. Berry said this was a given due to the size of the area and, in Lac Ste. Anne County, producers were struggling to get work done in contrast to their peers.
“Those reports are much larger in scale,” she said. “I know people here are going through a hard time.”
Barry added the declaration itself is more symbolic than substantive. They hope it gets the ball rolling on aid from other governments and makes it easier for farmers to file insurance on their crops. She said she did not know what potential funding would be used for apart from some area producers buying feed for their livestock in order to offset some recent and expected price increases in the near future.
“Feed had more than doubled in cost over the winter,” Berry said.
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