By Cole Parkinson
On June 9, the Municipal District of Taber declared an agricultural disaster for the second straight year. Last year, the M.D. declared an ag disaster on Aug. 10, but this year, administration brought forward a Request for Decision to declare it earlier.
“This topic was discussed on Monday (June 6) at the Ag Service Board meeting and forwarded to this meeting. In front of you, you have an RFD with information from the Alberta Crop Report and the mapping of our drought conditions throughout our municipality in the south,” explained Jason Bullock, director of Ag Services at the M.D.’s special meeting on June 9.
With dry weather continuing well into spring and early summer, administration explained “The dry weather pattern has continued into 2022. This has left many producers with no grass for livestock, nor water in their dugouts to water livestock. The dryland farms are watching seeds germinate and die before emergence. The land that is irrigated will likely see reduced yield and larger irrigating costs.”
With rain coming in June, it was asked if declaring would be premature.
“I’m wondering if we’re maybe just a little premature, but I know that Cypress County declared on Tuesday (June 7) and Forty Mile did it yesterday (June 8). I’m just wondering with the forecast for some substantial rain again next week, if we’re maybe just a little early. I don’t know if grasslands will come back after the kind of drought we’ve been in,” said Reeve Merrill Harris.
While declaring an ag disaster brings awareness of what the municipality is dealing with, it doesn’t bring additional funding. Others saw a benefit in declaring early as many farmers in the dryland areas are being hit hard by drought.
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