We welcome guest writers to all of our Todayville platforms. Here’s a submission from Emily Folk. Emily is passionate about agricultural sustainability and more of her work can be found on her site, Conservation Folks.
Extreme Weather Patterns Causing State of Agricultural Emergency in Canada
Climate change is spurring intense droughts and floods around the world, leading to crop failures. While corporations and consumers look for ways to reverse the impact of global warming, farmers are dealing with the consequences now.
Canada has high hopes for impending weather shifts. As temperatures rise, the country could gain access to more fertile land. Yet, it’s also dealing with new challenges, including droughts and constant rain.
A Lack of Moisture
Twelve counties in Manitoba declared a state of agricultural emergency due to a severe drought, leaving farmers unable to produce enough feed for cattle. While some are paying to transport hay, others are opting to sell.
Dianne Riding, VP of the Manitoba Beef Producers, says her farm produces around 1,800 bales of hay in a typical season. Last year, they had 500 — this season, only 250. With her reserves depleted, she says she won’t have enough to feed her 130 cows.
Some farmers are transitioning to regenerative agricultural practices in an attempt to prevent livestock from decimating plant life. Other countries, such as China, have already used this method to restore 3.7 million acres of land and increase grain production by 60%.
Canada’s ability to navigate climate change will hinge on its management of water resources. Its prairies, which make up 80% of farmland, were hit by the infamous Dust Bowl in the 1930s. According to researchers, it’s a problem that could repeat itself as temperatures rise.
Federal organizations are establishing green initiatives to simplify environmental shifts. Many corporations are also transitioning to eco-friendly practices, both due to environmental concern and buyer demand. Globally, 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from a sustainable company.
A Downpour of Rain
In other parts of the country, excess moisture is an issue. Lac Ste. Anne County in north-central Alberta has declared a state of agricultural emergency due to persistent showers and early snowfall. Between mid-June and the end of July, the county received 406 millimeters of rain.
One significant issue is livestock feed. With wet fields, farmers have difficulty accessing their crops. When they do, the hay often isn’t dry enough to safely and correctly bail it.
Stacey Berry, the county’s assistant manager of agricultural services, reports some fields are seeing upwards of 80% crop death. The goal of the state of emergency is to make it easier for farmers to file insurance claims for losses.
Nearby Leduc County, 30 kilometers south of Edmonton, also declared a local state of agricultural disaster. Similar to in Lac Ste. Anne, the poor weather affected the quality and quantity of yields.
An Eventual Warming
The federal government recently released a warning that droughts, floods and violent storms will increase in frequency. As a result of climate change, experts predict most regions of Canada will warm during the next 60 years. As the country is high-latitude, warming will be more pronounced than the global average.
As the droughts increase, crop yields will decline. Warmer summers could boost the number of heat-wave-related deaths, especially in poultry operations. Plus, diminished weight gain in cattle could lead to reduced milk and dairy production.
In addition to extreme weather events and decreased yield, climate change will also affect disease and pests. Higher levels of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) will lead to greater weed growth and the prevalence of pests and pathogens. The range, frequency and severity of insect and disease infections may rise drastically.
An Opportunity to Expand
In Canada, rising temperatures could be a beneficial opportunity for farmers, opening up millions of once frozen acres. The amount of arable land in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan alone could increase up to 40% by 2040.
Most regions will likely become warmer, with longer pest-free seasons and increased evaporation. The higher temperatures require less feed for livestock, benefiting production and survival rates. It could also benefit soil health by enhancing carbon sequestration and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.
Farmers hope to capitalize on the warmer conditions by exporting food to regions hit by crop failure. The world agricultural production will need to increase by 50% by 2050 to keep up with population growth.
I’m Emily Folk, and I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. Growing up I had a love of animals, and after countless marathons of watching Animal Planet documentaries, I developed a passion for ecology and conservation.
Read more stories on Todayville Agriculture.
COVID-19 takes down Agri-Trade 2020
Agri-Trade Equipment Expo cancelled for November 11th – 13th, 2020
Agri-Trade Equipment Expo announced today that they made the difficult decision to cancel their 2020 show that was to be held November 11 – 13 at Westerner Park. Although Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy guidelines do allow for trade shows to take place, considering all factors, Agri-Trade felt they had no choice but to cancel the show.
Agri-Trade worked closely with all stakeholders to come to this decision. They all worked together to do what they felt was best for their exhibitors during this pandemic. Corporate policies have introduced restricted travel that would impede both exhibitor participation and attendance for the event.
“With so many concerns around the current situation with COVID-19, many companies have implemented restricted travel policies. With a significant number of companies having to cancel, we felt that the show would not be representative of the Agri-Trade brand. This was not a decision that was made lightly, we left no stone unturned as we were making this decision.” said David Fiddler, Agri-Trade Expo Show Manager.
“We know that in a normal year, millions of dollars of business takes place and almost $300 million in economic impact is created as a direct result of the show. We recognize that many people and businesses will be impacted by this decision. We appreciate the Government of Alberta, and Alberta Health Services for providing an environment that would allow tradeshows such as Agri-Trade to be a part of Alberta’s recovery plan.” said Rick More, Chief Executive Officer, Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce.
“After hundreds of event cancellations over the past six months, we wanted to try everything we could to safely and successfully host Agri-Trade, once we were given the green light for tradeshows by Alberta Health Services. But as we monitor the environment and the ongoing challenges and feedback from exhibitors and stakeholders, we feel that the risks outweigh the reward in pushing forward this year.” Mike Olesen, Chief Executive Officer, Westerner Park.
The Agriculture community is resilient and has already persevered through a number of challenges this 2020 plant and harvest season. Agri-Trade looks forward to once again being the place to do business in Agriculture in western Canada in November of 2021.
Since 1984 Agri-Trade has been a joint venture of the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce and Westerner Park, attracting farmers and ranchers to view the newest equipment, technologies and the latest information to boost productivity and profit their operations. Agri-Trade is one of Canada’s premier indoor/outdoor agricultural equipment expositions and is considered to be one of the best Farm Equipment Shows to do business in North America.
If you are looking or more information on Agri-Trade Equipment Expo please be sure to follow them on social media or stay up to date at www.agri-trade.com
For media inquiries contact: David Fiddler, Show Manager 403-304-5719 or [email protected].
Daryl McIntyre talks Equine health Thursday at 7PM on the “Raised With Care” sessions
“…The more we know about our animals and our responsibilities to them, the better care we can provide. This, in turn, helps produce a better product and a stronger industry…” Alberta Veterinary Medicine Association
The Raised With Care sessions are a series of live-streaming interactive conversations with Alberta livestock owners about stewardship strategies that contribute positively to antimicrobial stewardship and animal welfare.
The sessions will explore four main areas of animal health: Vaccines, Healthy Facilities, Identifying Issues in Animal, and Impact of the relationship with veterinarians, veterinary technologists and the team at veterinary practices.
“We are talking equine health on Thursday with Dr. Greg Evans,” says host Daryl McIntyre. “The focus is on anti-microbial (anti-biotic) stewardship and general horse health.”
Sept 10 | 7PM – Equine
Sept 17 | 7PM– Apiculture
Sept 24 | 7PM– Dairy
Oct 1 | 7PM – Small Ruminant Animals
Oct 8 | 7PM-Poultry
Oct 15 | 7PM– Pork
Oct 22 | 7PM– Backyard Agriculture
Oct 29 | 7PM– Companion Animals
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