Photo by Rolf Hecken on Unsplash.

Alberta county declares agricultural disaster for second time in three years

An Alberta community has declared an agriculture disaster over unharvested fields and poor crop quality.

The County of St. Paul made the announcement on Thursday after it became clear that farmers were going to be unable to harvest 35 per cent of all crops in the region.

The county’s Reeve, Steve Upham, told the Calgary Herald that recent snowfall put a dent in the harvest, adding that it’s unlikely that other crops could be salvaged.

“Many of us had really felt that over the course of November we’d maybe get a two-week window of really nice weather that would give us the opportunity to get some combining done. November’s past and really not much has changed,” he said.

A press release issued by the county said that local agriculture community has seen hard times with unseasonably cool, wet summers followed by excessive moisture in the fall and the spring.

“These conditions both delay maturity of annual crops and make harvest difficult if not impossible for many of our producers,” it said.  “The added cost of drying grain with the increased cost of running equipment in wet and cold conditions was also considered when making this decision.”

This is the second time in three years that St. Paul has declared an agricultural disaster, but Upham said he thinks there are a number of counties throughout central and northern Alberta in similar situations.

As a precaution to crops that are still in the ground, the county has asked residents to be careful when hunting or partaking in winter activities around farmland. Residents should obtain permission before travelling on what may appear to be an open field, it said, as crops can be severely damaged by recreational vehicles.