Sask. RM of Dundurn declares agricultural disaster amid drought

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Sask. RM of Dundurn declares agricultural disaster amid drought
A farmer's relationship with the weather can be dicey at the best of times. Unfortunately for producers in the RM of Dundurn, that relationship has taken a turn for the worst. Brody Ratcliffe has the details. – Jul 13, 2023

A Saskatchewan rural municipality is looking for disaster relief for its farmers and ranchers due to an ongoing drought.

The council of the Rural Municipality of Dundurn declared an agricultural disaster on Wednesday, adding that they were looking to various levels of government to provide assistance.

The RM noted that if any local producers need documentation of the declaration to get assistance they should reach out to their office at

Ben Wilson is the deputy reeve for the RM and said they’ve been running short of rain for the past few years.

The RM of Dundurn has declared an agricultural disaster due to drought conditions. Global News/ Slavo Kutas

“The combination of the heat, the ( lack of) rain and the grasshoppers moving in the crops are just, we’re running out of pasture, the grasshoppers are eating the grass before we can get cows on them. The crops aren’t growing, and if they are growing they aren’t going to fill up to get anything to harvest out of them,” Wilson said.

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He said he’s on his last leg for pasture space, noting something needs to change.

“I’m not sure what we’re going to do here ourselves.”

Wilson’s family has been working that land since about 1910, noting he’s been actively farming with his dad for the past 20 years, and said they’ve seen some rough years.

“It was probably 1988 when we had a real bad one; 2001 and 2002 were bad, but nothing that’s ever lasted this long.”

He said some of the government programs to help in cases like drought have started to improve, but he said he’d like to see some of the processes sped up.

The RM of Dundurn has declared an agricultural disaster due to drought conditions. Global News/ Slavo Kutas

The Saskatchewan government told Global News in a statement that it is closely monitoring the situation.

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“We are closely monitoring the situation and are currently seeing the driest conditions in the southwest and west central areas. We have seen additional RMs declare disaster areas due to drought and expect other RMs to make similar declarations should dry conditions persist,” read the statement.

The government said producers’ main line of defence against drought is through the province’s existing business risk management programs, AgriStability, AgriInvest and Crop Insurance, adding that enhancements were made to each program this year.

It noted that the federal government offers low-interest livestock cash advances through the Advance Payment Program, and livestock owners should keep tabs on the prescribed regions for the Livestock Tax Deferral provision as well.

Producers can also get funding to develop new wells, pipelines and dugouts through the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program.

“Under The Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program, costs related to dugouts, pipelines, and wells are typically funded at 50 per cent of eligible costs, to a maximum rebate of $75,000 over the life of the program.”

The province also pointed to the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation’s Livestock Price Insurance program, noting it offers several policies.

“The Ministry of Agriculture has a team of extension specialists located in 10 regional offices across Saskatchewan to support producers with agronomic advice, program information and pathfinding services. Producers are encouraged to reach out for information on existing programs, alternative feeding strategies, pasture management, assistance with water testing or interpretation of feed and water test results.”

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