August 07, 2015

07/08/2015: Alberta drought means a challenging summer for farmers

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Hay crops in Western Canada are fighting to survive and farmers are struggling to care for their livestock as the drought continues, proving this summer to be the hardest that ranchers have had to face for 50 years. 

The extreme weather has hindered hay production in many areas of the province. Consequently, prices of hay have risen to around five times higher than normal, and the expense means that buying hay is not an option for the majority of ranchers, as they simply cannot afford it. 
The province announced on Thursday that it would support those who need it.

 “It’s clear that many producers are facing challenges because of the dry conditions this year and that’s why we are finding common sense ways to help out farmers during these difficult times,” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. 

"Some of the crops barely reached past my ankle. No doubt we're in a drought situation."

Environment and Parks is working alongside municipalities to locate additional public lands for grazing and it will issue temporary grazing and haying permits in areas that they find to be suitable. 

“We are committed to supporting farmers during this challenging year. Identifying more access to vacant public land for grazing is a practical way to help out farmers who are struggling with the high cost of feeding their livestock,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks.

There is now an option, provided by the province, for producers who need to sell livestock to defer part of their 2015 sale proceeds of breeding livestock for one year to help offset the cost of refreshing that stock the next year.

Agriculture and Forestry’s Water Pumping Programme provides pumps and pipes to help producers get water for dugouts and catch basins. The province says it will reduce rental fees by half to help ensure producers have resources to replenish supplies and water livestock.

Read more HERE.

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