October 12, 2018 9:57 am
Updated: October 12, 2018 8:19 pm

Farm groups urge Alberta to be ready to deal with effects of a poor harvest

WATCH ABOVE: As another blast of winter weather blows through farmers' fields, two Alberta counties have declared states of agricultural disaster. As Tom Vernon explains, there are calls for government help.

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A coalition of farm groups is warning the Alberta government to be ready to respond quickly to an expected poor harvest.

The groups, which include Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers and the Alberta Wheat Commission, call themselves “Team Alberta.”

READ MORE: Alberta’s other oil — Protecting a golden industry worth billions

They say more than $3 billion worth of crops remain in the fields and government agencies need to be prepared to respond promptly to unharvested claims.

Cold weather, including snow, has led to some crops being harvested wet or left in the fields, which affects quality.


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The coalition estimates only 26 per cent of canola, 57 per cent of wheat and barley and 34 per cent of pulses have been harvested so far.

READ MORE: Snow and rain delay harvest in Alberta

Team Alberta says conditions at this point in the fall are worse than in 2016 when weather caused many crops to remain unharvested.

“Farmers need an early and clear indication of what the next steps might be in dealing with severely downgraded and high moisture crops,” Jason Lenz, chairman of Alberta Barley said in a post on the organization’s website Thursday.

“Agriculture Financial Services Corporation needs to make prompt decisions to deal with claims and communicate information to farmers in a timely manner.”

READ MORE: Alberta farmers worried as cold weather hurts harvests

Kevin Bender, chairman of the Alberta Wheat Commission, says producers will take a major financial hit this year.

“Much of the wheat crop left in the field will be downgraded to feed, even after drying, resulting in losses of up to $240 million from milling quality,” he said.

“We remain hopeful farmers can get back to harvesting soon, but 2018 will be a major hit to the bottom line.”

READ MORE: Canadian farmers open up about mental health: ‘They’re not the only ones’

Team Alberta says it wants to remind producers who are stressed by the situation that there is help available, including the Alberta Health Services Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.

If you need immediate help you can click on this link.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the Canadian suicide hotline, available 24/7, at 1-800-668-6868. For more information on suicide and to find help nearest you, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. Please call 911 for immediate help.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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