Record temperatures and drought lead to poor crop conditions
Athabasca County… After monitoring the condition of crops within Athabasca County and upon a recommendation from Athabasca County’s Agriculture Service Board (ASB), on August 26, 2021, County Council formally declared a State of Agricultural Disaster in response to low precipitation that has affected the quantity of crops, hay, and pasture County-wide.
Referencing the Guide for Declaring Municipal Agriculture Disasters prepared by the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) association, County Administration determined more than 50 per cent of crops and pasture are in poor condition compared to long-term averages, triggering a disaster condition.
As of August 10, 2021, the Alberta Crop Report indicates that in addition to dry conditions, some crops in the region were hit with hail, causing a loss of potential yields. Sub-surface soil moisture has been reported between 15 per cent (poor) to 35 per cent (good).
While pastures may recover, the growing season has been shortened and rain is required. Precipitation in the growing season compared to the yearly average is low to very low for the majority of the County. Some producers have started feeding their livestock since grazing is not an option, as there is no forage left on pastures due to recent heat waves and subsequent drought.
Declarations of agricultural disasters do not automatically trigger access to increased funding programs, provincially or federally. However, declarations raise awareness to governments of the challenges local producers face, which could lead to some form of support and assistance.
The most recent Alberta Crop Report is available on the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry website at https://www.alberta.ca/agriculture-and-forestry.aspx.
Additional information for local producers can be found at: