Renfrew County Local of NFU - Letter Requesting Drought Assistance, Oct 1, 2012

October 1, 2012

Dear Sir/Madam:

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. Attached you will find a September 27, 2012 Article titled “County Still in Level II Drought”.

It should be noted that the Bonnechere River and its tributaries which runs through some excellent agricultural lands in Renfrew County is still classed at a Level 3 drought. That and the above article reveal 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 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 many 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. Kindly note that the Bromley rainfall station located in the middle of Renfrew County had the lowest rainfall reading in Ontario.

Many farmers in Renfrew County are faced with many extraordinary costs (loss of 60% of their cash crops, very costly feed replacement, loss of good genetics, loss of water supplies and increased operating 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 (including cattle, sheep and hogs) 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

(i) $40.00 per acre for established forage crops
(ii) Payment of $70.00 pr head for livestock (all information attached)

It is noted that our local farm organizations are working diligently to attempt to bring in hay for livestock from Western Canada. If successful, that will be costly and time consuming and additional aid is needed for many 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 and continued into 2013.

We trust that your administration at both levels of government will reconsider the term extraordinary costs and approve funding for farmers in Renfrew County similar to the funding approved for the Manitoba farmers as quickly as possible.

We will be awaiting a reply.

Yours truly,

Dave Mackay, President
Renfrew County National Farmers Union

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