Atlantic crop damage concerns voiced in Ottawa
September 2, 2008 By The Canadian Press
September 1, 2008, Halifax, N.S. –
Two Nova Scotia politicians are asking Ottawa for assistance in helping
Nova Scotian farmers whose crops have been damaged by excessive rain.
September 1, 2008, Halifax, N.S. – Two Nova Scotia politicians are asking Ottawa for assistance in helping Nova Scotian farmers whose crops have been damaged by excessive rain.
Nova Scotia Agriculture Minister Brooke Taylor and Victoria-The Lakes MLA Keith Bain met with federal Agriculture Department officials August 31.
The politicians asked Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz to provide federal funding for farmers who grow lettuce, beans, corn and other produce in the Boularderie Island and Bras d'Or area of Cape Breton.
Taylor said the region has seen more than twice the rainfall than normal, which has caused 50 to 60 per cent losses to some crops and produce.
“The produce fields are just devastated,” said Taylor, who acknowledged the whole province had seen heavy rainfall. “But that particular area of our province has been hit particularly hard.
“It’s not just crop damage, the fields are flooded and its caused plants to die because of the lack of oxygen,” he said. “There’s been no opportunity to do weeding and cultivation.”
Taylor said he’s asking Ottawa to provide financial assistance to the farmers by implementing the AgriRecovery, a disaster relief program for producers hit by smaller natural disasters.
AgriRecovery was part of a $1.3 billion agreement between agriculture ministers in July that attempts to deal with problems facing farmers across Canada.
The program would provide money to farmers from both the federal and provincial governments.
Taylor said the meeting on Sunday evening set the table for an official decision later in the week.
“I’m hoping we can get the go-ahead in principle to proceed with the program and hopefully give the farmers some comfort,” said Taylor. “My goal is to offset the costs as much as we can.”
Taylor said getting the go-ahead from Ritz would allow individual farmland to be assessed for damage and loss.
In mid-August, the area near Sydney in Cape Breton had already seen four times its average amount of rain.
Bain, the MLA for the region, said he met with farmers in the region August 30 after a week of soggy weather.
“They’ve lost crops and it’s at a point now where they can’t get on the fields to do anything,” he said. “It’s a really bad time for the farmers.”
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