Re: Agricultural Disaster (was Re: [gardeners] Drought)

George Shirley (
Thu, 24 Jun 1999 11:12:46 -0500

Barbara Jackson wrote:

> 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
> year.
> 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
> chest.
> Barb
> Barbara Jackson
> "Sunny" Manitoba (yeah, right!)
> Zone 3 Canadian Prairies

No problem Barb. I think most areas of North America have experienced, for
farmers, one catastrophe or another due to either El Nino or La Nina. A number
of farmers in our area have had to declare bankruptcy after nearly two years of
drought followed by heavy rains. I think your post was well written and makes
our small holdings with problems look pale compared to the family farmers.
Thanks for the view of your area.