Cattle producers in the municipality have been hit the hardest by the lack of rainfall in the spring of this year, with Starland saying hay crops are virtually non-existent in the county.
“It’s very likely that producers will have to respond by selling off their herds, or by purchasing hay from other sources,” said Agricultural Fieldman, Alan Hampton.
The lack of moisture in the spring, coupled with several early killing frosts have left many of the crops in a very poor condition. Precipitation within the County has been sporadic, and only a few pockets of agricultural land within the County are demonstrating even average crop growth conditions.
The Council of Starland County has requested the Province of Alberta implement the actions recommended in the Agriculture Drought Risk Management Plan for Alberta.
“The Council of Starland County felt it was important to issue the Declaration of Agricultural Drought Disaster to raise awareness of the seriousness of the general conditions within the region,” said Hampton.
While the disaster declaration does not constitute a disaster under the Emergency Management Act, the council feels it is important to include the municipality or at least sections of the municipality into any agricultural programs that might be offered.
“It has hit cattle producers more than anyone else,” explains Hampton. “It’s in pretty tough shape up there.”
Declaring a disaster doesn’t necessarily mean the county will receive provincial or federal funding, but it leaves a door open if/when funding becomes available.
Other crops in the county are nothing compared to the above average crops last year, according to Hampton, as he says cereal crops look around average or below for 2009, as well as being late.
“I think our season is too short, but certainly any rain is beneficial. For the most part our yield potential is just about done,” Hampton said.
Starland County will continue to monitor the agricultural conditions in the municipality, and will ensure any new information for farmers is distributed through a variety of methods including the A.S.B. Newsletter and the agricultural information tab at www.starlandcounty.com.
Agricultural Producers are also encouraged by Starland to contact their MLA, MP, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for any questions on program or their local concerns.