'Devastating blow': Northwest Alberta municipal district declares agricultural disaster

The municipal district of Greenview has declared an agricultural disaster due to drought conditions.

The district is in northwest Alberta and encompasses areas south of Grande Prairie to Grand Cache and east to Fox Creek, including Valleyview, DeBolt, and Two Creeks.

Greenview Council declared the disaster at their meeting on Tuesday. In a statement, the municipal district said drought conditions within multiple areas of Greenview have “significantly impacted” agricultural producers.

“A prolonged record-breaking heatwave peaked at the end of June and continued into early July, delivering consistently high heat, heavy winds, and a significant lack of moisture,” the district said.

“These conditions combined have impacted crop and livestock producers across areas of Greenview.”

Many agricultural producers are facing crop failure, premature ripening of crops, poor yields and quality, the district added. Some producers have been forced to reduce as much as 75 per cent of harvesting.

“With that severe heat that we had, the seed heads were just forming. They shrivelled up,” said Reeve Dale Smith, in an interview with CTV News Edmonton. “It was a devastating blow.”

Smith said the farmers in the area have had little respite in the past few years.

“We had too much rain last year and it drowned crops out, and other years we had frost – it’s been back to back,” he added. “Those producers have payments to do, you know it makes a struggle, it increases their debt.”

He hopes for moisture so that the soil can be replenished for next growing season.

“We gotta stay positive going forward,” Smith said. “There have been spotty rains here and there. The heat has just been so extreme.”