Importance of agriculture in southern Alberta

·2 min read

Agriculture has been vital and plays a significant role in our lives. While its significance may be even more pronounced in some countries than others, the reality is — every country depends on agriculture to sustain itself in one way or another. Agriculture is the backbone of everything that drives us. In addition to providing food for local communities and other raw materials, it also provides employment opportunities. According to Canada Encyclopedia, Canada's federal and provincial government provides funding to many industries, including agriculture. The current funding framework for agriculture is called the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Government funds support agricultural research, export and trade. "Agriculture is by far one of our biggest industries. If you can consider in Lethbridge County, we have 60 per cent of pure cattle, so that's an enormous number of cattle that are here,” said Lethbridge County Reeve Lorne Hickey. Since COVID-19, many farmers have dealt with droughts, shortages of workers and many issues during the pandemic. During a crisis such as this, farmers facing the stress and uncertainty of providing for their families may suffer severe mental health impacts. "The biggest and troubling one has been staffing. A lot of agriculture realized pretty heavily on a lot of labour, and at times I think it's been hard to get labour. Or when labour gets to the point where you're tight on numbers, it's difficult to move forward with a lot of things and it became a big issue,” added Hickey. 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. The "Do More Ag” site offers a range of resources geared towards farmers and offers a weekly, professionally-facilitated "Talk it Out" Zoom forum — where farmers can receive peer-to-peer support. -30-

Jaxon McGinn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sunny South News

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