Further to letters written to you under dates July 16th, July 24th, August 1st and August 20th, the Renfrew County National Farmers Union Executive has instructed me to again update the above on the 2012 drought situation many farmers in Renfrew County continue to deal with.
Some areas of Renfrew County did receive a minimum amount of rain in recent days. The ground is so very parched that the rain received penetrated only a few inches. Following hot windy days quickly absorbed the little moisture. The recent showers were too little too late to make any difference. Speaking to farmers as they approach winter the stress level and anxiety of those farmers is unprecedented.
It should be noted that the Bonnechere River and its tributanes which runs through some excellent agricultural lands in Renfrew County is still classed at a Level 3 drought. That in itself reveals the severity of this past summer’s drought and low water levels which continue to seriously affect farmers and residents in this area
First we wish to express our appreciation to M.P. Cheryl Gallant, the Hon. Gerry Ritz and the Hon. Ted McMeekin for the replies we have received to our earlier correspondence. All the replies stated that farmers in Renfrew County should access the BRM suite of programs, AgriInsurance, AgriStability and AgriInvest. Please note and acknowledge that approximately 70% of farmers in Renfrew County are not enrolled in the programs and therefore they are not allowed to access those programs. The main reason for their lack of participation is that the farmers’ net income prior to 2011 had been in the negative for a number of years (except those in supply management). In most cases, those farmers were unable to afford the programs, and the paperwork is so complicated that they would have to hire consultants to follow up on the paper trail.
In addition, our administrators at both levels of government must realize that the 2012 drought in Renfrew County is a major disaster for most farmers including beef, dairy, sheep, hog, beekeepers, cash crop and market gardeners. The above programs were created basically to assist farmers when minor fluctuations in weather and/or yields occurred.
In the Renfrew County NFU’s earlier correspondence, we put forward recommendations for disaster relief for all of the above farmers.
The replies from M.P. Cheryl Gallant and the Hon. Gerry Ritz stated, and we quote, “Disaster responses implemented under the AgriRecovery framework are designed to assist with the extraordinary costs associate with recovering from this drought disaster.
- farmers in most cases are able to harvest only 10-30% of their crop – hay, corn, soybeans. Those crop losses have to be replaced with expensive purchases anywhere from 30-80% above a normal going cost – this causes extraordinary replacement feed costs and additional fuel costs to salvage the little crop which had survived the drought.
- farmers with forward contracts having only 10-30% of their average crop yield are facing a financial dilemma with nowhere to resort.
- drilled wells and water holes which have supplied water for decades are going dry – this is an extraordinary cost to those farmers.
- fertilizer and seed costs for next year are already rising significantly as a result of the drought causing another burden for the upcoming crop year.
Each and every farmer in Renfrew County is faced with many extraordinary costs so therefore the Renfrew County National Farmers Union again sincerely requests the above administrations to once again review our recommendation which suggested a per acre and/or per head of livestock relief payout for all farmers including market gardeners and beekeepers, etc.
Our farmers are requesting that you refer back to the March 5, 2009 Province of Manitoba Funding Announcement under AgriRecovery announced to farmers who had suffered the flood disaster.
- $40.00 per acre for established forage crops
- Payment of $70.00 per head for livestock (all information attached)
It is noted that our local farm organizations are working diligently to bring in hay for livestock from Western Canada. In any event that will be costly and time consuming and additional aid is needed for other producers, so therefore, the Renfrew County National Farmers Union feels that those extraordinary costs covered under the Manitoba Funding Program in 2009 are similar to the extraordinary costs farmers in Renfrew County are being afflicted with in 2012.
We trust that your administration at both levels of government will reconsider the term “extraordinary costs” and approve funding for farmers in Renfrew County as quickly as possible similar to the funding approved for the Manitoba farmers.
We will be awaiting a reply.
President Renfrew County National Farmers Union