On July 28, 2020, Yellowhead County’s Council declared a State of Agricultural Disaster for the 2020 season based on high precipitation levels in Yellowhead County and the identification of several types of crops ranked as reaching disaster thresholds.
Declaring an agricultural disaster brings awareness to a developing situation, informs residents, industry and provincial and federal governments, and enables collaboration with impacted producers.
Municipal declarations do not automatically trigger access to increased provincial or federal funding programs. In 2015 and 2017 Yellowhead County declared Agricultural Disasters due to drought conditions and in 2019 a declaration was made in regards to the excessive moisture and cool conditions. In 2020, producers are experiencing excessive moisture and cooler temperatures that have affected crops across our municipality. To date, the following surrounding municipalities have declared or will have declared by the end of the week of July 10th: Thorhild County, MD 24 of Lesser Slave River, Leduc County, County of Athabasca, Barrhead and Strathcona County.
In 2017 the Rural Municipalities of Alberta released a document, which uses data as a decision-making tool where agriculture production is impacted by natural causes, to assist municipalities in declaring a disaster.
The administration has used this document to assess Yellowhead County’s condition, and based on crop reporting, discussions with producers, and visual inspections by staff the following judgments have been made:
• Cereals are ranked definite disaster thresholds.
• Peas, Canola, and Corn are ranked definite disaster thresholds.
• Hay crops ranked as expected diminished crop yields as there is still a chance that fields can be cut and baled over most of the County however quality will drop the longer the hay is left standing if fields can not be accessed.
Based on the data, and in support of Yellowhead County farmers, Yellowhead County Council declares a State of Agricultural Disaster for the 2020 season.