The County of St. Paul has declared a local ‘State of Agricultural Disaster’ on July 27, 2021 due to the hardship weather conditions and drought have placed on local farmers.
An Agricultural Disaster Declaration can be used by municipalities to bring awareness to issues surrounding excessive moisture and drought which are having an impact on agricultural production.
County of St. Paul Council has issued the declaration of Agricultural Disaster to encourage the Provincial and Federal Governments to initiate necessary programs that can provide relief to local producers, and that it is done in a timely manner.
Conditions in the County have been extremely hot and dry over the last few weeks. These conditions have seen hay crop yield averages drop to 25 to 50% of normal and the County is expecting to see the same drop in crop yields because of the drought.
Soil moisture reserves are extremely low in most parts of the County and without moisture, there could be some total crop failures. With pastures also affected by the weather producers will be struggling to find feed for their livestock to carry them to the following year. The last time the County of St. Paul declared an Agricultural Disaster was November 26, 2019 due to unharvested acres of crop land.
County Council is aware of the hardships facing County producers because of weather conditions, and it is raising awareness of the problems facing agriculture in the County of St. Paul. When our agriculture industry suffers all of our communities suffer.
Municipal declarations do not automatically trigger access to increased funding programs, provincially or federally. A Provincial declaration is necessary to trigger claim payments through the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation.
The County of St. Paul will notify Provincial and Federal Governments of the State of Agricultural Disaster and request a disaster recovery program be set up to address this agricultural disaster.
Producers are encouraged to contact the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation at 1.877.899.2372 or visit their website — www.afsc.ca — for the most updated information.
The Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) has produced ‘A Guide for Declaring Municipal Agricultural Disasters in Alberta’ which is a tool to enable municipalities to have informed decision-making processes prior to making a formal declaration of agricultural disaster. This tool looks at not only current conditions but past experiences and evolving conditions as well that have had an impact on agricultural production and crop yields. It also provides background on the role that various levels of government play during a declaration of disaster.