Alberta minister not ready to declare provincial state of agricultural emergency

WATCH ABOVE: The province says 17 Alberta counties have declared states of agricultural disaster this year. Shallima Maharaj has more on the situation in Lamont. 

EDMONTON — Alberta’s agriculture minister says the drought means some farmers will face a dismal year but he isn’t ready to declare a province-wide state of agricultural emergency.

Oneil Carlier says he recently toured a number of regions that have declared local emergencies.

He says some crops barely came up over his ankle and it is going to be a struggle for many producers.

“It’s clear that many producers are facing challenges because of the dry conditions this year, and that’s why we are finding common sense ways to help out farmers during these difficult times,” Carlier said Thursday during a media conference at the Alberta Legislature.

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READ MORE: ‘What do I do with my cattle?’: Alberta farmers struggle with near drought

It’s estimated that crop yields this year could be 25 to 30 per cent below the five-year average.

The Alberta government has responded by cutting rental fees in half for a program that helps farmers pump water to fill their dams and dugouts.

The province is also working with municipalities to identify additional public lands for grazing to help producers feed their livestock.

WATCH: Province updates dry conditions across Alberta 

The following municipal districts have declared states of agricultural disaster:

  • Beaver County – Located southeast of Edmonton.
  • Brazeau County – Located in central Alberta around Drayton Valley.
  • Cypress County – Surrounds Medicine Hat and Redcliff.
  • Lac Ste. Anne County – A sprawling municipal district northwest of Edmonton around Mayerthorpe and Onoway.
  • Leduc County – Located directly south of Edmonton.
  • Municipal District of Lesser Slave River – Located in north central Alberta around Slave Lake.
  • Mackenzie County – Alberta’s largest county located 800 kilometres north of Edmonton around Fort Vermilion, High Level, La Crete and Zama City.
  • Parkland County – Located just west of Edmonton.
  • Sturgeon County – Located just northeast of Edmonton.
  • Thorhild County – Located about 85 kilometres north of Edmonton.
  • County of Vermilion River – Located in east central Alberta around the communities of Vermilion and Kitscoty.
  • Municipal District of Wainwright – Located in eastern Alberta, east of Camrose and south Lloydminster.
  • Westlock County – North of Edmonton around Westlock.
  • Yellowhead County – Bordering on Jasper National Park west of Edmonton.
  • Lamont County – Located northeast of Edmonton around Lamont.
  • Wetaskiwin County – Located in central Alberta south of Edmonton around Wetaskiwin.
  • Woodlands County – Located northwest of Edmonton around Whitecourt.

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