(Guelph, ON)– The National Farmers Union recently surveyed Ontario members to document the impact of this summer’s drought. Farmers in Bruce, Elgin, Grey, Huron, Lanark, Lennox and Addington, Ottawa, Oxford and Renfrew counties responded. Their crops and activities include beef, sheep, pork, pasture/hay, wheat, spring grains, soybeans, spelt, corn, mixed vegetables, strawberries and horse breeding, and they work anywhere from eight to 500 acres.
"The results of this survey show that NFU members are dealing with both a loss of income through decreased yields and increased expenses for this growing season and throughout the winter. In many cases farmers have been forced to purchase feed they would not normally purchase, to plant additional crops or to spend money to find water for livestock,” said Ann Slater, NFU Regional Coordinator for Ontario. “The only way most farmers will be able to recoup some of these costs is through disaster relief funding."
The NFU has been pro-active in drawing attention to the drought and the need for AgriRecovery assistance and improvements to AgriInsurance in order to prevent long-term damage to the affected farming communities and their ability to produce Ontario’s food supply.
"The impact of this summer's drought on farmers will last well beyond this growing season and the coming winter,” said Charlie Nixon, Ontario Regional Councilor from Chesley. “Our members have told us they are deeply concerned about the long term costs of the drought, both in terms of the damage to pasture and hay fields due to extra harvests and extra grazing, and the decline in the numbers of beef and sheep in Ontario. This loss of livestock will lead to more cash crops, less hay and pasture and less Ontario meat for the people of Ontario to eat."
The NFU urges both the federal and province governments to act as quickly as possible to implement disaster relief.
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For more information:
Ann Slater, NFU Region 3 (Ontario) Coordinator: (519) 349-2448 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlie Nixon, NFU Regional Councilor (519) 363-2781 or email@example.com
Sarah Bakker, Region 3 Regional Office Administrator: 1-888-832-9638 OR 705-738-3993