Farmers lose livelihoods to Sask. flooding
MELVILLE, Sask. – Many Saskatchewan farmers have lost part of their livelihoods as a result of the recent flooding; however, a local farmer east of Melville remains in good spirits.
“There’s not much that you can do,” said Robert Mitrenga. “Mother nature brings something on and we just got to live with it.”
Mitrenga grows mainly canola on his 1,800 acres, but this year he tried his luck seeding some quinoa. “It’s 90 per cent under water. It’s done. That was a good cash crop but I guess it won’t be this year.”
He figures he lost about 30 per cent of his crop due to flooding.
According to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly crop report, two to three million acres have been damaged across the province.
“There’s a lot of folks in that southeast part of the province that this is their fifth year of wet ground and they’re getting tired of it,” said Norm Hall, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.
This year has been a tough one for some farmers. In addition to the flooding, a transportation bottleneck meant last year’s harvest sat in bins across the prairies.
“That caused market signals from the grain companies to widen their basis, so we ended up with lower prices because of that,” said Hall. “One thing after another.”
As for compensation, Hall says crop insurance will cover yield loss and farmers can apply to the provincial disaster assistance program (PDAP) for damage to their homes.
“I’m not sure if there’s going to be any settlements now before harvest. I doubt it,” said Hall.
There’s no hope for crops that are still underwater but even as levels continue to recede, Mitrenga remains realistic. “Two days of this nice wind and sun will help out the crops that haven’t been affected,” he said “But now we’re waiting for the next storm to come.”