“We’re having a serious moisture issue in the province, whether it’s in the Peace River area, or down south or in the east. We’re having some challenges.”
The provincial government is taking steps to monitor and address the dry weather conditions and the problems that result from them, says Andre Tremblay, policy director with Alberta Agriculture in Edmonton.
Tremblay spoke at a recent seminar in Ponoka, designed to help producers understand their options during the current weather conditions.
“I think we understand what’s happening and your comments are heartfelt and accurate,” Tremblay said to a group of over 100 producers. “We’re having a serious moisture issue in the province, whether it’s in the Peace River area, or down south or in the east. We’re having some challenges.” He emphasized to the group that the situation is being monitored and that recommendations are going to the minister of agriculture.
Tremblay described the work of the Alberta Drought Management Committee. This group was formed several years ago, and its activities fluctuate with the weather situation. The committee is comprised of members from Alberta Financial Services Corporation (AFSC), Alberta Agriculture, Alberta Environment, members of the Agri-Environment Services Branch, and the Alberta As sociat ion of Municipal Districts and Counties.
The committee has been meeting frequently and will make recommendations to the Minister of Agriculture, said Tremblay.
Another group recently formed to deal with the situation involves the deputy minister of agriculture, AFSC representatives and the vice-president of risk management. This committee will also be providing recommendations to the minister of agriculture. In addition, the government of Alberta has invested a significant amount into weather stations across the province, said Tremblay.
“We have the most developed weather station network in Canada. We track moisture on a daily basis and use the weather maps and the weather monitoring system to make sure we are providing our minister with the most up-to-date and accurate water information,” he said.
The moisture maps are available for producers to view on Alberta Agriculture’s website, Ropin’ the Web.
Tremblay also described Growing Forward’s Water Management program, which is a federal and provincial initiative. This program allows producers to fund dugouts, wells and other water storage options on their program. Alberta Agriculture also offers a water pumping program which will help producers move water if needed.