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December 7, 2023 December 7, 2023

Producers looking to the sky for snow after hard summer

Posted on September 20, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Anna Smith
Sunny South News
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

While he’s fortunate to irrigate his potato crops, Forty Mile Councillor Allen Kuizenga admits that without a hard winter with heavier precipitation, even irrigation will be in trouble come next year.

“This is a bad one. This is where we had two and a half inches of rain all year from April 1,” said Kuizenga. There were other parts of the county that received even less, approximately one inch of precipitation, throughout the entirety of the growing season.

While they were ultimately found to not meet all of the requirements for a state of agricultural disaster, the County still saw it as a necessary measure, said Kuizenga, to help raise awareness of just how bad the situation had become for dryland farmers in the area.

And now, should things not change, the drought is likely to impact irrigation growers net year as well.

“The supplies or the water reservoirs are all empty, and if we don’t get a significant amount of snow this winter, it’s gonna be tough for irrigation next year,” said Kuizenga. “There’s places in 40 Mile, on dry land that have great crops. There’s other places that have never had crops this bad before.”

Kuizenga has not received many calls from residents in regards to agriculture, but he has heard his fair share from those who visit 40 Mile Park, on the irrigation reservoir, concerned about the lack of water present for their stay at what, in better years, is often a wide stretch of beach.

He told Southern Alberta Newspapers about taking a few trips to Vancouver for the sole purpose of monitoring the snowpack in the Rockies, which are disconcertingly bare at the moment, as the mountains often have more of an indication of what the flow into irrigation will be like.

Presently, though it may be hard on livestock and daily travel, Kuizenga hopes for a long, snowy winter, to hopefully restore moisture to the soil and the reservoirs for everyone that depends on it.

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