FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – While heavy rains and an early snowfall made this year’s harvest far from being one to celebrate, the situation wasn’t nearly as bad as in some neighbouring Alberta counties.
The CBC News is reporting that four counties in western Alberta have declared states of agricultural disaster. Yellowhead and Parkland counties west of Edmonton, each declared states of agricultural disaster yesterday, after Brazeau and Lac Ste. Anne counties declared a disaster at the beginning of the month. In Brazeau county near Drayton Valley, County Reeve Bart Guyon said, “around 75 per cent that hasn’t been harvested.”
At the end of October, the Farm Credit Corporation said that it will consider deferrals for loan principal payments to help farmers across the Prairies who are facing financial hardship because of wet weather before and during this year’s harvest.
The agricultural lender says rain in the last half of the growing season and snow early in October caused significant harvesting delays in many areas and reduced crop quality.
Customer service manager Kelly Kassian with Viterra said that while some farmers in the Peace Region fared better than others, the season as a whole was not great. “There’s probably twenty percent of the crop left out, but we did get a little bit of canola off a week and half ago when it warmed up there,” said Kassian. “There’s still a good fifteen percent of the crop out there, give or take. It’s mostly cereal crops. There’s still some canola out there for sure. We had about three days of combining, and the snow came.”
Kassian added that while roughly 80 percent of the this year’s crop was harvested, some areas further north fared worse. “They had some areas there that were real bad. If you north towards Prespatou, up that way it’s real bad. There’s places there they can’t even get on the fields yet. They harvested some, they fought with it, but there’s a lot of crop left on up there. The ruts in the field, they have a mess up there for spring work.”
Kassian said that he feels certain that the harvest season has come to an end for the year. “Weather-wise it sure doesn’t look like it’s going to change, so we’ll have to see what happens in the spring if we can get any of these crops off.”
With files from CBC News: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/parkland-yellowhead-agricultural-disaster-1.3863978