Alberta declares drought disaster : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Alberta declares drought disaster

WebPosted Fri Jun 1 17:56:17 2001 EDMONTON - Some parts of Alberta are suffering through the driest conditions recorded in 130 years, and that has prompted the provincial government to take action.

INDEPTH: Weather Gone Wild

The Alberta government has declared a drought disaster in the province and is adding nearly $100 million in aid to farmers and ranchers. Many beef producers have been selling off their herds or shipping them to different regions.

Alberta cattle producers say they're grateful for the money, but warn of a looming crisis in the industry.

The government has divided the money into two pots. The first $73 million will go directly to cattle producers. They will receive a subsidy of $4 for every acre of land used for grazing cattle.

An additional $20 million will be used to help pay for irrigation and well drilling projects.

"People out there are facing an emergency situation. They don't need a cumbersome process, they need help, they need it now," said Agriculture Minister Shirley McClellan.

Cattle producers welcome the money, but say they will likely need more help in the months ahead.

Farmer Michael Bird says many ranchers have already been reducing their herds due to a lack of water and feed for their cattle. He says grass isn't growing or is dying from lack of moisture.

That means expensive feed will have to be brought in, leaving cattle producers with the option of thinning out their herd or spending thousands of extra dollars to keep their cattle alive.

Written by CBC News Online staff

-- Martin Thompson (, June 02, 2001

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