Both the County of St. Paul and Lac La Biche County have declared an agriculture disaster after an extremely dry season. Calling for an agriculture disaster is done to make the provincial and federal governments aware of the dismal conditions. The two Counties held special council meetings on July 28th, 2015 to make the declarations.
Despite the recent precipitation, in the County of St. Paul, farmers would have needed the moisture in June to ensure they had optimal crop growth. Some areas in the County have half or less than half of their typical yields. Specifically, east of Elk Point where the moisture is at its lowest for the last 20-25 years.
Much like other regions in the province that have made the declaration, Lac La Biche County did so to display to the government the impact that minimal rainfall and grasshopper infestation have had on local crops this year, particularly hay and pasture crops.
Other regions that have made the same declaration include Parkland, Mackenzie, Sturgeon and Leduc counties. The Municipal District of Bonnyville has not yet made the same declaration and is not believed to be doing so this year. On July 22nd, Janice Boden, Assistant Agricultural Fieldman, with The MD of Bonnyville said that crops are coming in and the MD “got rain at the right time for them to start showing the seed.” “At this time, I would say we’re doing okay,” Boden continues, “we’re doing better than other municipalities and districts.”
As for the other regions that declared an Agriculture Disaster, the hope is the provincial and federal government will recognize the drought and the impact its had and offer relief to farmers.
**update August 7th, 2015 – The MD of Bonnyville will be holding a special council meeting on Tuesday, August 11th. The vote to declare the region in an Agricultural Disaster is on the agenda. It is believed council will vote to make the declaration**