County declares agricultural disaster, as drought continues

·2 min read

Alberta communities, especially in southern Alberta, have been declaring an agricultural disaster, as drought continues across the province. The effects of COVID-19 have been felt in almost every sector, and agriculture is no different. Social distancing requirements and travel restrictions had prevented some farmers from sowing their crops, leading to labourer disruption, and wreaking havoc on supply chains. Although the picture has been bleak, some say the pandemic has brought a wave of innovation that could transform the sector in the long run. On Sept. 2, county council declared an Agricultural State of Emergency in Lethbridge County — due to the ongoing drought conditions and high temperatures. “The province is the big over-riding piece essentially in declaring this piece of disaster. And, statistics and information through AFSD are very important to that aspect. The province can only allocate a certain amount of funding potentially as well, but the big portion comes from the federal government. Hence, as a municipal government, we have very little physical influence,” noted county administration. “I’m not even sure if it’s needed because I talk to the province and federal, they said there is a disaster already, and I’m not sure if we have to follow through on that, and I think if you didn’t follow through, we still fall in the disaster area. That’s the way I kind of look at it, but of course we will send a letter of support,” added Coun. Morris Zeinstra. Council also approved a letter sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry with these concerns. During a crisis such as this, farmers facing the stress and uncertainty of providing for their families may suffer severe mental health impacts. Those needing help are encouraged to reach out for support and contact “The Do More Ag Foundation” — a not-for-profit organization focusing on mental health in agriculture across Canada. -30-

Jaxon McGinn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sunny South News

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