Wet Weather May Lead to State of Emergency for M.D. Farmers

If anyone was praying against snow – it’s the farmers.

At the last Municipal District of Bonnyville meeting Wednesday, director of Agriculture & Waste Services, Matt Janz, warned council that this summer’s wet weather has created “a scary situation” for farmers.

One that might lead to a state of emergency in the municipality in a couple weeks.

Only 7 per cent of crops have been harvested, with 70 per cent still standing in the fields and 20 per cent swathed. At this time the soil is saturated, and if it snows, crops will be near impossible to get out of the fields

For context, southern Alberta usually has 70 per cent of crops off at this time, and they are only at 30 per cent.

With three inches of snow and hail on the weekend in some parts of the M.D., and a small dump of snow Thursday morning, the situation is not getting any better.

“We kind of did a look around this morning and most crops are still standing. It’s a definitely a concern from us. But we aren’t in that state yet,” said Janz, Thursday morning.

“If these crops aren’t gonna come off in the next week or two, and the weather forecast still looks bad for October, farmers are gonna be in a tough pickle. Because all the expenses they put out through the year… they won’t be able to pay any of the bills come this fall.”

If the M.D. declares a state of emergency, there may be some relief funding for them. But that depends on the province and the federal government.

“We’re keeping a close eye on it and anything we can do as a municipality to help these farmers if they have to go to that state of emergency, we’ll be able to assist as much as possible to get the provincial politicians and even federal politicians to be aware of the problem. I know the provincial politicians are aware. We work closely with Alberta agriculture and forestry. They’re aware of the dire situation out there if this continues being wet.

The extended forecast this week continues to show rain. Janz and his department will continue to monitor the situation.

“We’re going to keep a close eye on it. We just pray for sunny weather, dry weather, to happen in October and hopefully these guys can get out in the fields and get these crops off.”