Agricultural Disaster (was Re: [gardeners] Drought)

Penny Nielsen (
Thu, 24 Jun 1999 09:17:30 -0300

Hi Barb

You are so right.  We live in our own world most of the time and forget about those who making a living from the land.  I sure hope the weather turns around for you in Manitoba and Sask.  The farmers in the east are experiencing the opposite situation, but at least they can irrigate, if funds allow.  The N.S. Govt. came up with money for the farmers last year, but it likely didn't cover half their losses.  This is the 3rd years in a row for lack of rain.  Not much the poor farmer can do to contend with the rain.

My sympathies to all farmers who are experiencing problems.  I sure hate to see the small farms being taken over by the giant agrifood companies.

Penny, hoping you soon see lots of sunshine.

>>> Barbara Jackson <> 06/23/99 07:41PM >>>
Evening gardeners,

I haven't posted much lately (been away to England and back home to battle
weeds and an overgrown garden).  But, when I saw all this talk of drought, I
had to tel you all what we have been experiencing here in SW Manitoba and S
Saskatchewan on the Canadian Prairies.  I guess extremes of rain or no rain
can be equally as devastating but here is what we have been contending with
this spring.

It is so WET up here, ducks are nesting in the ditches.  We have received
double the normal amount of rainfall for Manitoba in May and early June and
Saskatchewan has almost tripled their normal rainfall amounts.  Almost Well
over 75% of farmers in Southern Saskatchewan and South Western Manitoba
can't get on the land to seed their crops.  Those that have made it onto the
land have trucks on standby in case they get stuck so they can be pulled
out.  It has been estimated that less than 50% of available land will be
seeded this year in southern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba.  It
will be devastating for the small family farmer with little or no crop
insurance.  Around  here if you don't seed you aren't eligible for insurance
coverage for losses.

And, since we are an agricultural area it is not only the farmers that will
suffer in the end.  One farm equipment dealership has gone bankrupt already
(in an area where the water table is so high that the roads are actually
collapsing).  This will have an economic impact on my city as well as an
even greater impact on the surrounding rural towns and villages.  They are
actually going to hire psychiatric nurses (my brother is onem of them) whose
exclusive job will be to counsel farm families in crisis in SW Manitoba this

So, when I see that I have a peony that just might not make it because it
has been in standing water for 3 weeks or that the wind has blown over a
couple of iris bloomstalks or that the majority of my lilies have rust, I'm
trying to keep it in perspective.  The peony may or may not come back and
the iris will more than likely flower again next year, the lily will survive
the rust and come back even bigger and better next year.  But, the farmer
who loses the family farm after it has been in the family 150 years doesn't
get a second chance when the bank forecloses.  He/she doesn't get a second
chance when they can't get credit to fix machinery or buy groceries for
their families.  This, too, shall pass for me but it might not for the
farmers of the area.

Sorry to unload guys.  Hope nobody takes offense, just had to get it off my


Barbara Jackson 
"Sunny" Manitoba (yeah, right!)
Zone 3 Canadian Prairies