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Ag disaster the right call to protect farmers

It was a difficult decision but the right call for farmers.
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It was a difficult decision but the right call for farmers.

Foothills County declared a municipal agricultural disaster on June 15, for the first time in its history, after sustained periods of hot, dry weather and wind wreaked havoc on crops, hay fields and pastures throughout the municipality. The drought conditions followed a winter and spring with less moisture than usual, which meant crops went into dry soil and never got the boost of rain they needed to prosper.

It's the same story through much of Alberta, and it won't be surprising to hear other rural municipalities make the same declaration in the coming weeks.

The County hopes officially pronouncing an agricultural disaster will help its producers, with insurance adjusters assessing situations in the Foothills and both the provincial and federal governments providing aid in a tough year for growers.

Crop farmers aren't the only ones in crisis - those who raise cattle are also staring down the end of a barrel as hay and feed are scarce, the cost to carry their herds through the winter daunting.

Effects of the disaster will also come down the pipe to consumers in the end, as high prices and shortages on beef and grain products may result from a difficult season.

The agriculture industry will suffer across the province in 2021 with Mother Nature keen on desiccating crops.

Foothills County is doing what it can to protect the farmers and ranchers under its wing and ensure their operations are able to continue into 2022.

Other municipalities should follow suit to safeguard one of the most important industries Alberta has to offer.