Local state of emergency declared in RM of Excelsior No. 166 due to drought

A local state of emergency has been declared in the RM of Excelsior No. 166 due to dry conditions in the southwest parts of Saskatchewan. File / Global News

Severe drought conditions have the Rural Municipal of Excelsior No. 166 under a local state of emergency.

On Monday, council for the RM declared the drought an “agriculture disaster” and is calling on the various levels of government to provide disaster relief to farmers and ranchers.

Read more: Drought providing challenging times for cattle ranchers in Saskatchewan

“Pastures, where they may have been grass for grazing, are now brown due to the heat this summer as well as the lack of moisture over the last few years. Many ranchers are being forced to feed their cattle now, which is considerably earlier than on an average year,” Reeve Harold Martens said.

“Several ranchers do not have sufficient feed for the winter and the cost of purchasing and trucking feed has increased drastically and is too expensive for many.”

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Read more: Crops rapidly deteriorating due to prolonged drought conditions, Sask Ag says

Martens said 2021 has seen fewer moisture reserves for farmers in the area, and very little rainfall. In areas where crops have usually germinated well, this year has been substantially slower or in some cases, germination has completely stopped.

“Our farmers and ranchers are in need of financial assistance to get through this. We as an RM have taken a local lead in assisting by passing a motion to rebate 20 per cent of the municipal agriculture taxes,” Martens said.

Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit announced $119 million in direct support under the province’s AgriRecovery program.

It will provide financial relief to producers for extra-ordinary costs incurred during the drought.

Read more: $119M pledged by Saskatchewan government to help drought-affected livestock producers

“We are acting swiftly to support Saskatchewan producers in retaining their breeding herd,” Marit said.

“The livestock sector is a vital part of our agriculture industry, and a significant contributor to our provincial economy.”

The Saskatchewan government said it has requested the feds contribute an additional $178 million to the AgriRecovery program to support producers.

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Click to play video: 'Drought impacting the cattle industry in Sask.' Drought impacting the cattle industry in Sask.
Drought impacting the cattle industry in Sask – Aug 2, 2021

-With files from Dave Giles

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