Canadian Underwriter

Alberta’s Brazeau County declares state of agricultural disaster

November 3, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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Brazeau County in Drayton Valley, Alta. has declared a state of agricultural disaster “due to the hardship that weather conditions, specifically, excessive and persistent precipitation have placed on local farmers.”

During the Nov. 1 Brazeau County Council meeting, council unanimously voted to declare a state of agricultural disaster, the county said in a press release on Wednesday.

“These extremely wet conditions over the past few months have resulted in very low crop harvest across Brazeau County,” said Reeve Bart Guyon in the release. “We understand the hardship our agricultural sector is facing and will provide all means of support possible. By declaring a state of agricultural disaster, we hope to call attention to this extremely important issue. Farmers feed families, let’s support them.”

Approximately 75% of unharvested cereals in the region remain standing, the county reported. Further to this, 84% of the unharvested spring wheat, 64% of the unharvested barley and 79% of the unharvested oats are classified as standing, according to the most recent Alberta Crop Report.

Brazeau County will notify provincial and federal government officials of the state of agricultural disaster and request a disaster recovery program be set up to address this issue, the release said. Residents who are experiencing agricultural hardship are encouraged to notify the county at (780) 542-7777.

Declaring a state of agricultural disaster is nothing new for city councils in Alberta. In July 2015, city council in Sturgeon County, Alta. voted unanimously to declare a state of agricultural disaster due to a recent drought and the impact on the livelihood of local farmers. According to a statement issued on July 20 last year, Sturgeon County experienced a “once in a 50-year low soil moisture levels due to low record rainfall and hot, dry weather.”

The week before, Alberta’s Parkland County also declared a state of agricultural disaster “due to the hardship that weather conditions and drought have placed on local farmers.” The county’s mayor, Rod Shaigec, said in a statement on July 14, 2015 that “moisture levels in some areas of Alberta are at the lowest levels recorded in the last 50 years.”

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