Canada

Harvest of despair

Drought has brought withered crops and wildfires

August 27 2001
Canada

Harvest of despair

Drought has brought withered crops and wildfires

August 27 2001

Harvest of despair

Drought has brought withered crops and wildfires

It was dry—very dry—across much of the country as the drought that’s afflicted Canadian farmers for much of the year worsened. In the Prairies, hit by the third straight year of well below normal rainfall, the situation was especially bleak, with some failed crops simply being tilled under. But even in provinces like Ontario and Nova Scotia,

farmers were fighting a losing battle during a summer that in some areas has brought only a sixth of the average rainfall. Ontario Premier Mike Harris even raised the prospect of emergency aid to his province’s agricultural sector. “It is something we’re going to have to address,” he said, “if we don’t get rain pretty soon.” Little was expected by week’s end, with

some experts comparing the situation to Canada’s legendary drought of 1961. And, ultimately, some economists said, consumers may pay the price. Withered pastures and corn crops could mean a rise in red meat prices, for example, as farmers turn to more expensive feeds for their animals. The drought also contributed to wildfires raging throughout parts of Canada and the western United States. One anomaly: an area stretching from southeastern Saskatchewan through Manitoba to northwestern Ontario where farmers complained their crops were getting waterlogged with three times as much rainfall as usual. E]