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NFUO Letter on Drought

NFUO Letter on Drought

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Published by iPoliticsCA

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Published by: iPoliticsCA on Jul 25, 2012
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07/25/2012

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www.nfuontario.ca * 888-832-9638 * office@nfuontario.ca
National Farmers Union - Ontario
 In Union is Strength
5420 Hwy #6 NorthR.R. #5Suite 229Guelph, Ontario N1H 6J2
July 16, 2012Dear Minister McMeekin:As you know the National Farmers Union in Ontario represents thousands of family farms acrossOntario. Our members grow and raise a wide variety of crops and livestock. Across the province, NFU members are facing increasingly severe drought conditions. NFU members in Renfrewcounty have called this the worst drought since 1965, but the drought is affecting farmers fromRenfrew to New Liskeard, Niagara and Huron counties and points in-between.The lack of significant rainfall this spring and summer comes on top of the setbacks to tree fruitcrops and perennial forage crops from the warm weather in March and the subsequent return tonormal frosty conditions in April. The lack of snow cover through much of the province duringthe past winter and the hot weather in recent weeks are also contributing factors.For farmers faced with the loss of crops due to the lack of rainfall, it has also been dishearteningto hear staff from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food in the media this past week,suggesting crops in Ontario are doing well and Ontario farmers stand to benefit from the droughtin the mid-west US. A few areas of the province have received timely rainfall, but NFU membersacross much of the province are facing:
 
dried up pastures forcing farmers to start feeding hay now that was stored for winter;
 
a poor first cut of hay due to frost in the spring and lack of adequate moisture;
 
a second cut of hay with windrows that are barely visible in the field;
 
a severe shortage of hay to feed during the winter and little to no hay available for farmers to purchase;
 
farmers preparing to sell off livestock as they have no feed to get them through thewinter;
 
vegetable, potato and berry crops drying up along with irrigation ponds;
 
vegetable crops not pollinating properly or aborting flowers due to the dry and hotconditions;
 
tree fruit crops almost wiped out by spring frosts; and
 
corn and soybeans coming into the pollination stage with inadequate moisture in theground and little chance of fully pollinating.The National Farmers Union is issuing a call to local food eaters to continue to support farmersthrough this challenging situation, even though the harvest of local produce will not be as bountiful this summer.

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