For Immediate Release – August 26, 2021
Northern Sunrise County declares ‘State of Agricultural Disaster’
At the August 24, 2021, Council meeting, Northern Sunrise County Council moved to declare an agricultural disaster in Northern Sunrise County.
Northern Sunrise County makes this declaration to raise awareness of the grim circumstances being faced by many of our agricultural producers, whether they be crop, livestock, crop/livestock or apicultural producers. The circumstances that have led to this declaration are a combination of excessive heat and insufficient moisture, as well as poor air quality due to smoke, which has culminated in severe stress to the area’s crops, hay and pasture.
Northern Sunrise County recognizes that not all areas of the County have been as severely affected as others; there is an expectation that hay crops on average will yield less than 50% of the 5-year average for the area. Due to pastures experiencing little regrowth this year, most livestock producers will not have feed to carry their herds through the upcoming winter. Grain, oilseed, and pulse crops are expected to yield less than 50% of the 5-year average in areas of the municipality, depending on the seeding dates, soil structure and rainfall received in those areas. In the apiculture industry, the higher temperatures and low moisture affects the plants’ ability to produce nectar, shortens the distance bees will fly, energy is used to cool the hives and smoke disrupts their natural ability to navigate. These factors all have an impact on the production of honey and return on investment to the Beekeeper.
Northern Sunrise County makes this declaration to urge the Provincial and Federal Governments to fast track the initiation of Any and All Programs that may mitigate the negative impact on our producers.
In support and in consensus with many other Alberta municipalities that have already declared agricultural disasters, Northern Sunrise County requests:
- Immediate inclusion of Northern Sunrise County in the Livestock Tax Deferral program and that the tax deferral be expanded to allow the deferral for up to 5 years due to the length of time that is required to rebuild a herd,
- The ability to defer up to 90% of the income for any amount of breeding stock herd reduction,
- An extension to the AgriStability deadline. We recognize that the deadline was already extended to June 30; however, a further extension could garner renewed interest in the program.
- Increase the payout benefit from AgriStability from 70% to 85% of reference margin. This would make a significant improvement to the program and increase the much-needed payment to participants.
- Fast track the processing of payments by AFSC and any Federal programs to assist producers as they will be encountering financial hardship
- Negotiate with the Cash Advance bodies of CCGA, Feeders Association of Alberta and FarmCash to allow payments being made to go directly to the producer. This Advance would ensure that producers do not have to make quick crop marketing decisions.
The Council of Northern Sunrise County appreciates the steps that have already been taken by the Federal and Provincial Agriculture Ministers and hope that discussions regarding AgriRecovery lead to much needed support for many of our County’s producers and that this support is initiated promptly.
For further information, please contact:
Reeve, Northern Sunrise County
Agricultural Fieldman, Northern Sunrise County