Agricultural disaster declared in Big Lakes County

File photo.

A northern Alberta county has declared an agricultural disaster with an estimated 63.5 per cent of pasture conditions rated poor and just 13 per cent of crops good to excellent.

Big Lakes County council made the declaration at its Sept. 8 meeting.

Reeve Ken Matthews said he hoped it would bring attention to the hardship facing producers in the area near High Prairie and Lesser Slave Lake.

“These unprecedented seasonal events have forced our producers to make tough decisions like having to use viable crops for feed and even reducing their herds,” he said in a statement.

“Producers from the area are even predicting they will need to start feeding livestock a month earlier than normal. We hope that the Provincial and

Federal Governments understand the exceptional hardships placed upon producers this year, and that they comprehend the value that our Agricultural Industry adds to our local, Canadian, and global economy.”

According to Alberta's Sept. 7 crop report, the Peace region has not seen a second hay cut and pasture growing conditions were rated as 67 per cent poor, 30 per cent fair, and three per cent good.

At the time, less than a quarter of crops had been harvested and another 21 per cent had been swathed.

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