WHEREAS agricultural producers in Alberta continue to suffer considerable financial losses, due to ungulate damages;AND WHEREAS even when producers exercise due diligence in the storage of grains and feeds, herds growing in size and aggressiveness consistently cause loss of product and damage to storage facilities;AND WHEREAS while the Department of Environment and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development acknowledge there is a problem, neither of these departments, nor the Agricultural Financial Services Corporation, offer programs to compensate producers for these types of losses;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta that in addition to proactive herd management practices, programs be established with adequate funding to compensate agricultural producers in Alberta for their loss of stored product and damage to storage facilities related to ungulate activity when the producer has exercised due diligence.
In recent years, agricultural producers in Alberta have been suffering increasing losses due to ungulate damage. The Agricultural Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) administers the Waterfowl and Wildlife Compensation Program, which provides compensation for crops damaged by ungulates or waterfowl. However, this program does not extend to stacked or stored feed or bales left in the field. Both Alberta Environment and Agriculture Food and Rural Development have acknowledged this issue and have provided some funding for fencing, stack wrap and intercept sites but when these efforts prove ineffective and a farmer suffers losses, no funding is available.For example, in the Central Peace Region, 60 elk were introduced in the early 1960s. While the local committee, in conjunction with Fish and Wildlife staff, has estimated the area can support approximately 600 animals, the herd size has grown to over 1,600. Elk move throughout the region, knocking down protective fencing and damaging bins to access feeds and grains. Department staff are strapped for financial resources and the manpower to address this issue and while the Province has advised tag numbers for antlerless elk and mule deer will be adjusted to increase the numbers taken, frustration among producers remains high. This is particularly true for producers who have taken the extra measures to secure a site only to find the animals have prevailed.This is the crux of the issue: if a producer takes the necessary steps to protect grains and feed, then there should be funding available to compensate for damage. It is rather ironic when consideration is given to the extra time, effort and expense incurred by the farmer for storing materials that AFSC should provide funds for damaged crops still in the field but not for stored product.