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Southern Alberta crops decimated by heat: ‘There’s virtually nothing there’

Click to play video: 'Southern Alberta crops decimated by heat: ‘There’s virtually nothing there’' Southern Alberta crops decimated by heat: ‘There’s virtually nothing there’
As a prolonged heat wave continues across southern Alberta, the NDP is calling on the provincial government to take action as farmers’ crops continue to suffer. As Erik Bay tells us, producers are feeling the heat – Jul 16, 2021

Water is a precious commodity right now, as heat continues to wreak havoc on the province’s crops.

“Conditions in the south, it’s well beyond repair,” southern Alberta farmer Kevin Serfas said.

NDP agriculture critic Heather Sweet is demanding the UCP government create an action plan to help farmers.

Read more: Southern Alberta farmers battle surge in grasshoppers: ‘They’ve been really bad’

“We’re calling for the immediate rehiring of all laid-off AFSC staff,” Sweet said. “As well, the consideration of an emergency crop assessment task force, to ensure that every single claim from this year’s drought is settled and paid out by the end of this year.”

On Thursday, Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen announced a joint AgriRecovery program between the province and the feds will be initiated to support prairie producers affected by the drought.

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Details for the program are still being developed.

Read more: Drought outlook tool first of its kind in Canada to predict conditions 30 days in advance

For those in southern Alberta relying on rain, recovery might be their only option.

Click to play video: 'Dry conditions in Manitoba causing big problems for farmers' Dry conditions in Manitoba causing big problems for farmers
Dry conditions in Manitoba causing big problems for farmers – Jul 14, 2021

“There’s virtually nothing there to harvest on the dry land,” Serfas said.

Serfas farms near Enchant, Alta., and has watched his crops continue to bake in the unrelenting heat.

Read more: High heat and low precipitation has Alberta farmers worried

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He says June’s heat wave was the “nail in the coffin” for many producers’ crops.

“Canola can’t flower in that heat and the rest of the crops just shriveled up and basically died,” Serfas said.

Now, as temperatures remain around the 30-degree mark, Serfas says it looks like this fall will be more of a salvage operation than harvest.

“Guys aren’t even going to combine because it’s going to cost them more money to run the machines over it than they’re going to get off,” he said.

“We’re going to try and combine and salvage whatever we can get.”

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