Susk.Farmers emphasize low crop yields and reduced income after a few weeks of drought

Susk.Farmers emphasize low crop yields and reduced income after a few weeks of drought


Farmers in Saskatchewan said that due to the drought conditions that bake their fields, they feel the tremendous mental and financial pressure from crop contracts and poor harvests.

According to the latest provincial crop report, only about half of the province’s crops are in normal development at this time of the year.

The report attributed the problem to lack of moisture and pointed out that about 8% of the topsoil of farmland in the province has the required moisture. Farmers can see the effect.

Jeremy Welter, a fourth-generation farmer who lives about 185 kilometers west of Saskatoon, said: “You can clearly see a lot of crop discoloration, and we have just entered the third in July. week.”

“These crops should still be grass green,” he said. “They should be lush. They should be thick.”

Welt said he is already planning for next year, but he is not sure what will happen financially. (Richard Asegute/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Welt said that his crop insurance company inspected his barley and most of his cereal crops, and said it was a complete write-off for him.

Welt said that financial pressure is a burden that keeps him awake at night. From paying for machinery to groceries, to repaying the credit that helps plant the soil, he is under pressure.

“I think I did everything I could, you know, you can’t help feeling that you are a failure, even if you can’t do anything different,” he said. “You can’t let it rain, right?

“Nothing can grow in the desert, and it won’t rain for six weeks.”

Pressure on farmers

Welt is not the only farmer feeling the effects of the heat.

Adelle Stewart is the executive director of Do More Agriculture, an organization in Saskatchewan that promotes mental health in the agricultural industry and is committed to providing resources for farmers.

Adelle Stewart of Do More Agriculture said that the Farmers Advocacy Group has started a campaign to provide nationwide telephone lines for farmers who need mental health support. (Richard Asegute/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

When asked what she heard from the farmer, Stewart summed it up in four words.

“Extreme pressure, despair, crisis,” she said.

“The situation we are seeing now is unprecedented, and without rain in the forecast, it seems that the situation will only get worse.”

Stewart said her organization often hears farmers and producers looking for mental health resources in the autumn or the tight harvest season in late August. This year, they have heard a lot of news from farmers, she said, including those who had to use bath water for their plants.

“We know the producer [whose] This year’s harvest is not higher than the stubble left in the field last year,” Stewart said. “There is no yield. Farmers signed contracts for seeds and grains that they could not fulfill. ”

In July 2020 and July 2021, Richard Owen, a farmer in southern Alberta, stood in the same place in his large wheat field. (Kim Owen)

Industry stigma

Although some farmers like Welter talked about the pressure from this year’s harvest, Lesley Kelly said that it is common for people in this industry to try to deal with this pressure alone.

“You heard that farmers must persevere. Boys don’t cry, or men don’t cry. This does harm our mental health,” Kelly, co-founder of Domo Agriculture, told Lysa Grebinski CBC Saskatoon morning.

She said the appropriate next step is to connect rural communities with appropriate health services when they need it.

Stewart said Do More Agriculture is building a national telephone line to provide farmers with mental health experts who understand agriculture.

Levi Hull and his family farm are located in Willowbrook, approximately 45 kilometers west of Yorkton, Sask. He has been a cattle producer since 2009. (Submitted by Levi Hull)

Leviher is farmed near Yorkton, Saskatchewan, in the southeast of the province, and is a director of the Saskatchewan Herders Association. He agrees that farmers often put emotions on their chests, and the stigma surrounding mental health needs to be changed.

He said: “You have family and friends and things you can rely on, but there are not many people who really do this. I don’t know why in this industry where we are all difficult.” “Maybe we are talking about it. It looks weak at times.”

The federal response to farmers, the province

In mid-July, the Saskatchewan government announced that the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Company would look for alternatives to farmers whose crops were damaged, such as silage, baling or grazing.

It said the insurance company will also double the low-yield assessment threshold for farmers who use their crops as feed.

On July 14, the Minister of Agriculture of Saskatchewan, David Marit, announced the changes to crop insurance and the province’s request to Ottawa. (Matthew Howard/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Saskatchewan Secretary of Agriculture David Marritt Call on the federal government to help, Including the designation of all Saskatchewan farmers who meet the livestock tax deferral program.

Ottawa responded to its support for producers, including signing a crop insurance plan agreement that would open up crops damaged by drought as feed.

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