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County of St. Paul declares state of agricultural disaster

Dry conditions combined with extreme heat have affected crops and pasture in the area.
Dry conditions have had an affect on many crops in the St. Paul area.

ST. PAUL - The County of St. Paul has declared a state of agricultural disaster, as of July 27.

The state of many crops in the area was previously discussed during the July 13 County council meeting, with councillors and administration expressing concern about the situation following a stretch of extreme heat and very little precipitation. 

"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," reads the Tuesday media release.

The County of St. Paul decided to proceed with declaring a state of agricultural disaster to encourage the provincial and federal governments to initiate necessary programs that can provide relief to local producers 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 per cent of normal, and the County is expecting to see the same drop in crop yields because of the drought," reads the release.

Soil moisture reserves have been reported to be very low in most parts of the municipality, and without moisture it could result in total crop failures. Pastures are also being affected by the conditions, and some livestock producers will be struggling to find feed.

"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," according to the municipality.

The declaration does not trigger any increased access to funding programs. A provincial declaration would be necessary to trigger claim payments through Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC). The county will however notify both levels of government about the state of agricultural disaster and ask that a disaster recovery program be set up.

The County of St. Paul declared a state of agricultural disaster in November of 2019, when a number of unharvested crops were left on the ground during the winter months.

More to come...

Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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