County of Stettler declares Agricultural Disaster

Dry conditions in the spring followed by excessive moisture in the form of snow in September and October have led County of Stettler Council to declare an Agricultural Disaster within the borders of Stettler County on Wednesday, October 10 at their regular council meeting.

The Alberta Agriculture and Forestry/Agriculture Financial Services Corporation Crop Reporting Survey as of October 2, 2018, indicates 43 per cent of crops have been combined in the Central Region.

The five-year average at this same time, in the same area, is 79 per cent.

“As we sit here today, many farmer’s crops remain on the field because of unseasonable weather conditions. The snow and moisture have made it difficult to get into the fields. Certain crops will diminish in value as these crops remain in the fields,” said Larry Clarke, Reeve for the County of Stettler.

The County of Stettler’s Agricultural Services Board disagreed earlier in September, with a list of prescribed regions identified to qualify for the 2018 Livestock Tax Deferral Program with Alberta Agriculture, which indicated Stettler County did not make the cut as a drought or flood affected region.

Statistics indicate Stettler County has received low to average precipitation, but locally we are aware of areas that as of Thursday, September 6 when the map was released, had not received any moisture.

Cattle producers who rely on grazing land after crops come off are also affected by these conditions.

“The County has received requests this year to graze livestock in our ditches and we have allowed this wherever possible. In fact, we passed a Ditch Grazing Policy at our October 10 Council Meeting in order to deal with this issue in the safest and most practical way. Hopefully, we won’t need it another year,” added Chief Administrative Officer Yvette Cassidy.

Hay is currently selling for 11 cents per pound and producers are scrambling to find the funds and the quantities they will need.

Barry Yaremcio, Beef Forage Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry told our Agricultural Services Board in August that local producers normally feed 175 days per year, but this year they should prepare to feed for up to 240 days.

Many local producers began feeding in September, which coincides with Yaremcio’s report.

County Council made this declaration of Agricultural Disaster, with the intent to encourage the Provincial and Federal Government to initiate programming to assist our agricultural producers.

For more information contact: Quinton Beaumont, Director of Agricultural Services for the County of Stettler at 403-740-3440 or email asb@stettlercounty.ca.

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