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.
“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.
Details for the program are still being developed.
For those in southern Alberta relying on rain, recovery might be their only option.
“There’s virtually nothing there to harvest on the dry land,” Serfas said.
“I’ve never seen it this bad, my dad’s never seen it this bad.”
Serfas farms near Enchant, Alta., and has watched his crops continue to bake in the unrelenting heat.
He says June’s heat wave was the “nail in the coffin” for many producers’ crops.
“High temperatures for that sustained time, it finished it off.
“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.”