News | DrumhellerMail - Page #13
10182018Thu
Last updateThu, 18 Oct 2018 9am

Starland lobbies for Livestock Tax Deferral Program

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Starland County is hoping their ranchers will get some relief following a tough season.

Extreme weather conditions have taken their toll on ranchers and this year producers in prescribed areas in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec are eligible for the Livestock Tax Deferral Provision.

  According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Livestock Tax Deferral provision allows farmers who sell part of their breeding herd due to drought or flooding in prescribed drought or flood regions to defer a portion of sale proceeds to the following year.

While this year Wheatland County and Kneehill County are designated regions, Starland County was left off the initial list.

“Our area hasn’t been included in the actual government plan. They didn’t consider our area drought-stricken enough,” said Ag Fieldman Al Hampton.

Hampton said the County is lobbying on behalf of the producers.

“So we have contacted Ag Canada and our MP. We have expressed our concern that our guys are in the same position as everyone else, why aren’t they getting the same type of program option?” he said.

“We have producers who are limited on feed supply and limited on pasture. I know of some that have actually culled some cattle already to sell just because they don’t have the feed supplies,” said Hampton.

Starland was included in the program in 2015 and 2017, but not in 2016. He says they are not the only ones who were affected by drought but did not make the list.

    “It also stretches into the County of Stettler and Special Areas. I have actually a person in Ottawa who is trying to figure out the program parameters, and have offered my input,” he said. “We have a few areas in Starland that are not in that bad of shape, but we have a big chunk of it that is. Drought doesn’t necessarily form borders.”

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the preliminary list is compiled in the fall. Since forage yield information is not final until later in the year typically the final list is reported in December.


Prussian carp prolific in Michichi Creek

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A local fisherman has grave concerns about invasive species that could potentially cause great harm to local waterways.

The Mail reported in its August 8 edition about crayfish and Prussian carp in the Red Deer River. Gregg Blanchett says there is carp in its tributaries and this could have serious consequences for the biodiversity in the river.

Blanchett is an avid outdoorsman, and in preparation for the ice fishing season, he will head upstream in Michichi Creek and catch minnows to freeze and use for bait.  A few years ago he noted a suspicious fish.

   “I have been catching minnows for a dozen years or so. About three years ago I noticed a couple of these Prussian carp in the net. I didn’t know what they were, I thought they were goldeye,” he tells The Mail. “Last year I caught less minnows, about half were these Prussian carp.”

   “This year I had the net in for 36 hours and I caught no minnows.  All I caught were Prussian carp in my net.”

Prussian carp have made their way into waterways in Alberta and Saskatchewan.They are hardy fish that can adapt to many different habitats and are a prolific breeder. They have the potential to outcompete native species for food and habitat.

  Blanchett says Michichi Creek starts at the McLaren Dam and eventually empties into the Red Deer River. Blanchett believes the fish probably originated in the Red Deer River, but entered the Michichi Creek to spawn.

“I fear that minnows are fairly nonexistent now,” he said. “Now what happens in the spring? You get tens of thousands of these washing into the Red Deer River,” he said.

He said he confirmed the fish by going to the game warden’s office.

“He said kill everyone you get. It’s too late for that now,” he said. “The day for fishing for minnows might be over.”

As an avid fisherman for many years, he has seen a lot of change in the Red Deer River. As a kid, he could catch minnows by the hundreds with a bit of dough. He suspects the introduction of invasive species coupled with heavy sediment that doesn’t provide healthy grounds for spawning could be the cause of dwindling stocks.

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Welcoming Program needs votes in Aviva Fund contest

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Drumheller Family and Community Support Services needs your help to secure funds for a Welcoming Program in Drumheller.

The program has been approved by the Aviva Community Fund, an organization which will donate $1 million to initiatives across Canada. The contest needs votes from people to secure a $10,000 prize to help start up the Welcoming Program in Drumheller.

“We want to provide a welcoming program to offer support to newcomers in Drumheller,” says FCSS coordinator April Harrison. “The need for this program was identified through the Social Needs Assessment. It will also be a great program for the economic development of our community.

Voting for the program has already begun and will end on October 4. Votes can be cast by searching for the program at www.avivacommunityfund.org


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