Andy Walker

Within the next several weeks, many Island producers will be filling out surveys as part of an effort to put a price tag on the damage caused by Post Tropical Storm Dorian last September.

The storm flattened thousands of acres of corn that was close to harvest, knocked much of the apple crop off trees and destroyed acres of grain and oilseeds. It has also resulted in a shortage of feed for many livestock producers who relied on that corn and other damaged crops.

The data collected will support an expected application from the province to the federal government for disaster assistance under the AgriRecovery program. Part of the federal/provincial/territorial suite of programs serving the industry, AgriRecovery is intended to cover what are termed extraordinary events that are entirely out of the hands of producers.

Unfortunately in an era of the climate change, extraordinary is becoming somewhat commonplace. Island potato growers received just over $15 million in AgriRecovery funding last July in relation to the loss of over 7,000 acres during the 2018 growing season. That year proved to be one of the worst on record with a cold and wet spring, a dry, hot summer, unseasonable frost and snow and a cold and wet fall for harvesting.

While Island growers fared considerably better in 2019, their counterparts in Manitoba had one of their worst years on record. An AgriRecovery application is likely headed to Ottawa from the Manitoba government as well.

Federation Executive Director Robert Godfrey said he expects this year's application could be similar in dollar terms, although it is spread out over a number of commodities. That is $30 million in just one province over two years. With the full impact of climate change likely still in the future, the number of applications is likely to accelerate across the country.

On another front, congratulations to Country View Farms and the McKenna family of Newton for winning the 2019 Cavendish Farms growing Green Award. This is the second year the company has recognized a producer for going the extra mile to ensure they farm in a sustainable manner and the company deserves credit for establishing the award. Country View Farms is certainly a worthy recipient as they have a long legacy of sustainable farming including their involvement in the East Prince Agri-Environmental Club.

Congratulations as well to Anthony Nabuurs and the other grain producers in the province who took part in the inaugural version of the Yield Enhancement Network. The concept begun in the United Kingdom in 2012 with a goal of helping producers bridge the gap between actual and potential yields. A total of 17 farms signed up across the province and Nabuurs came out on top with a yield of 2.50 tonnes to the acre, harvesting 62 per cent of potential yield.

Growers had a chance to pick up some pointers from Mark Stubbs, the United Kingdom 2019 champion, who had a yield of 16.3 tonnes to the acre harvesting 85 per cent of potential yield. The Island program is off to a good start and hopefully it will become a yearly event.

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