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Western crops plagued by Mother Nature


July 17, 2001   by Canadian Underwriter


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A strange mix of droughting and flooding across western Canada is prompting farmers to ask for government aid. Drought has reaked havoc in the west of Saskatchewan, causing six communities to declare emergencies, and the Alberta government has already promised $90 million in relief to ranchers there, the National Post reports. Flooding has taken its toll in Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan, with Manitobans already receiving $4.5 million in federal funding.
For the six Saskatchewan communities asking for relief, the request is intended to fill the gap remaining beyond what is covered by crop insurance, the Post notes. Reported estimates suggest that gap may be between $50 and $75 per acre, although the exact amount of acreage affected is not yet known. The tally will run into the millions of dollars.
A particularly warm, dry winter in Western Canada, followed by record low precipitation this spring, is largely to blame for the drought conditions. Conversely, Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan experienced several large winter snowstorms combined with record rainfalls in the first half of the year. Regina alone has been hit with 135% higher precipitation than normal so far this year.