Special Areas declares agricultural disaster for first time in 20 years

Pea-sized hail practically demolished crops found north of Richdale, Alta. in Special Areas on July 6. The storm was quick but produced massive amounts of hail that - when accumulated - looked like snowbanks and immediately flooded the ditches and parts of the road before abruptly ending just as fast. ECA Review/T.Huxley
Written by ECA Review

The Special Areas Board declared a state of agricultural disaster for Special Area No. 2, 3, & 4 Fri. July 23, 2021.

Prolonged drought conditions continue to create significant challenges for producers in the region.

It is the first time the Special Areas has declared an agricultural disaster in over 20 years. 

“Dry conditions are not new to the Special Areas, but above-average temperatures and ongoing moisture deficiencies throughout the region has devastated crops and pasture. Many producers are struggling to find enough grass, water, and feed for their cattle,” said Special Areas Board chair Jordon Christianson.

The Special Areas covers over five million acres in east-central Alberta and the region has been dealing with significant moisture deficiencies for over a year.

The lack of spring runoff created new challenges as regular water sources have dried up, especially with June’s extreme heat event and the ongoing lack of precipitation.

Producers are seeing wide-ranging crop losses on hay, pasture, range, and field crops. 

Declaring a municipal agricultural disaster does not impact the Special Areas financially but brings recognition to the situation local producers are dealing with.

The Board is looking to provincial and federal governments to provide information on agriculture relief programs in response to crop failures and persisting drought conditions.

The Board appreciates the work the Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devan Dreeshen has been doing to help producers access alternate feed sources, including advising AFSC crop adjusters to complete early assessments on standing crops and pastures. 

Producers are encouraged to reach out to their Agricultural Fieldman for resources on managing pastures and water supplies during drought conditions. 

For further insurance or Agricultural Disaster program information, contact AFSC at 1-877-899-2372 or visit their website www.afsc.ca.



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