Andy Walker

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***By the time you read this, we will have passed the midway mark in September and, to the point of writing at least, the month has not been too bad in terms of the allotment Mother Nature has handed out. It has featured some welcome rains after the driest growing season in recent memory, allowing late variety potatoes and crops like soybeans and corn to size up as harvest nears. With the year anniversary of Post Tropical Storm Dorian now in the rear view mirror, many growers are understandably keeping a close eye on any potential storms this hurricane season. Before the arrival of Juan in 2003, hurricanes and post tropical storms were largely in the category of 'things that happen somewhere else' for most Islanders. Climate change has assured that is no longer the case. As Barry Balsom points out, there has never been hurricanes in back-to-back years on PEI. While that will likely happen at some point unfortunately, everybody is keeping their fingers crossed it won't be this year. With COVID-19 and the driest summer in decades already realities, it is time for lady luck to be on our side.

***Still on the Dorian theme, it is time for the federal government to make a decision on the AgriRecovery application submitted by the province on behalf of growers and livestock producers who sustained damage during the storm. While there is no doubt the arrival of COVID-19 slowed down the process considerably, it has been over a year since the storm and growers could certainly use the assistance as they prepare to harvest this year's crop.

***Kudos to the Agronomy Initiative for Marketable Yield and particularly Ryan Barrett for organizing three field tours across the province. The tours offer growers and others in the industry a chance to view the results of research first hand. Organizing the tours in a climate of social distancing as a result of COVID-19 adds more challenges and Ryan and his team did any excellent job of keeping everybody safe. Thanks for letting me tag along on the eastern tour.

***The decision by the board of directors of the Atlantic Farm Mechanization Show to move the 2021 show from its traditional March date to November comes as no surprise. With health experts predicting the possibility of a second wave of cases this fall and winter, it is doubtful whether the show would have been able to continue in its traditional format in March. Hopefully by November of 2021, the virus will finally be in the rear view mirror. The directors have decided to continue with a November date in 2023, 2025 and 2027. While it will seem strange to be at the show in November, we will probably adjust quickly. It could turn out to be a good move weather-wise as mid-November usually features less snow that early March. However, as farmers have long known and COVID-19 has reminded the rest of us, there are no certainties in life.

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