Agricultural disaster declared in Alberta. Here's why
While a few systems have brought moderate to significant rainfall, some areas are still suffering the impacts from the dry beginning of summer. In Saskatchewan, thousands of people were forced from their homes earlier in the season due to wildfires, and the fight continues even now in the B.C. Interior.
But it's shaping up to be an economic disaster as well for the region's farmers -- so much so that Alberta has officially declared the situation a disaster.
"Essentially the declaration provides the mechanism for Agriculture Financial Services Corporation to access more of our premiums and reserves to ensure producers with insurance are compensated for their losses in a timely manner," government spokesperson Renato Gandia said in an email to CBC News.
It's not hard to see why. The map below, from Alberta's agriculture department, shows some parts of the province have experienced 1-in-50 and 1-in-100 year drought conditions so far this summer (here's a larger version).
"The issue is we didn’t get the rain when we needed it. Right now, it’s too little, too late. The damage to the crops has already occurred," Agriculture Minister Oniel Carlier told the Edmonton Journal.
Carlier also said the Alberta government may seek additional support from Ottawa, noting Saskatchewan has suffered as well.
Several Alberta municipalities have unilaterally declared agricultural disasters over the past few weeks, hoping to push the provincial government in Edmonton to follow suit with a general declaration.
As it is, the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation has already paid out more than $1 billion to 80 per cent of drought-stricken farmers, according to the Journal, while CBC reports crop yields are expected to be about a quarter of the five-year-average.