Declaration of Municipal Agricultural Disaster – MD of Taber

For Immediate Release

July 21, 2023

TABER, AB — The Municipal District of Taber has officially declared an agricultural disaster in response to the severe drought conditions affecting the region as of July 18, 2023. 

The MD of Taber Council voted to declare an agricultural as part of their regular meeting held Tuesday. This declaration comes as farmers and ranchers face significant challenges in sustaining their crops and livestock amidst the prolonged dry spell.

Varying winter snowpack and lack of early season moisture, along with a lack of growing season precipitation and unseasonably high temperatures has led to poor growing conditions throughout the MD of Taber.

As of July 11th, the Alberta Crop Report rates all crop conditions in the South at only 35% good or excellent. Soil moisture reserves remain severely depleted at 42% poor. Desiccated conditions have also caused grasshopper infestations over a threshold on 17% of acres, resulting in further loss of cultivated crops and rangeland grasses.

It is estimated that 46% of pastures and hay are in poor condition. This has resulted in producers having to keep their livestock on feed or turn them out into hay fields normally needed to produce winter feed. With the lack of suitable pasture and high winter-feeding costs, many producers will face the hard decision to disperse or reduce herd sizes.

Since the last report, annual crops have decreased by 6% and are now rated poor by 23%. Hot, dry conditions have contributed to poor germination and early maturity. Additionally, oilseeds and pulses are estimated to show flower and pod loss.

With the declaration, the Municipal District of Taber is now able to create a higher level of awareness with the Provincial and Federal governments, as well as the public, of the challenging conditions our municipal agricultural producers are facing.

This is the third consecutive year that the Municipal District of Taber has declared an agricultural disaster, with the first declaration taking place two years ago in 2021.

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