Weather pushes Ontario farmers to brink of disaster

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Local farmers are having a tough time surviving the recent weather patterns; the government is now promoting is risk management program – Jul 13, 2017

Local farmers in the Kawarthas say they are in dire circumstances, which will become more critical if the weather fails to bring the sunshine and warm temperatures.

Provincial minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs Jeff Leal visited some local farms Thursday to talk to growers about the impact of the cool, rainy spring and summer on local crops.

 “What we need right now is heat, and more heat . . . and more heat,” said local beef farmer David Whittington.

After last year’s dry, hot summer — one of the driest and hottest on record — farmers were hoping for a reprieve. The stunted crops last year led to a shortage of feed. Many local farmers, Whittington included, had to cull up to half their herds of cattle because they couldn’t feed them.

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Now this year, the weather is dealing up the opposite — so much rain that the hay is soggy.

“No matter how old you are, we haven’t seen weather like this,” Whittington added. “Last year, we had the driest summer in a hundred years and now we have the wettest in 150 years.”

Leal had a first-hand look at the damage the weather is wreaking on farms in the Kawarthas.

“So now this is becoming the near norm, these volatile weather conditions and we want to make sure they (farmers) are enrolled in our business risk management program just to make sure they are protected in terms of changing weather patterns,” Leal said.