Two Alberta counties west of Edmonton have declared states of agricultural disaster following a wet growing season that led to a difficult harvest.
Yellowhead County and Parkland County made the declarations Wednesday, both saying area farmers still have crops on the field due to excessive moisture this growing season.
“There are many years where growing conditions are perfect for farmers to have a highly productive season – this, unfortunately, was not one of them,” Yellowhead County Mayor Gerald Soroka said.
“Right now in a significant number of acres across Parkland County, the excess moisture has made it very difficult for farmers to get into the fields and harvest their crops,” Mark Cardinal, manager of Parkland County Agricultural Services, said. “There is simply still too much moisture in the ground. Unless the ground freezes and precipitation is at a minimum, most of these crops will have to remain on the ground until spring.”
On Tuesday, the Alberta government declared a state of agricultural disaster, saying “the agriculture industry is experiencing economic hardship resulting from adverse weather conditions leading to damaged crops throughout the province.”
According to the most recent Alberta crop report, producers across central and northwest Alberta managed to harvest about 87 per cent of their crop. Yields are above average throughout Alberta, but the quality of the crop is “extremely disappointing” due to the high moisture content.
Yellowhead County said about 50 per cent of cereal crops remain in the field and about 21 per cent of oil seeds crops remain standing, “approaching definite disaster thresholds.”
Both counties have asked the province for disaster recovery and support programs to help address the issue.
More to come…