Alberta Floods May Hurt Crop, Livestock Producers, Minister Says

Alberta crop and livestock producers may suffer losses from floods affecting parts of the Canadian province, although officials won’t know the extent of damage until waters recede, Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson said.

Initial reports suggest that most of the damage is isolated to areas along river banks and creeks, Olson said in a telephone interview from Edmonton today. The flooding has forced some producers to move livestock to higher ground, he said.

Alberta is home to 40 percent of Canada’s cattle herds and is also a grower of wheat and canola, among other crops, data show. Eighty-five percent of crops in the western province were rated in good or excellent condition as of June 18, prior to flooding, the agriculture ministry said in a report yesterday.

Officials are monitoring the integrity of dams used for farm irrigation, Olson said. More water is expected to reach agricultural land near the city of Medicine Hat tomorrow afternoon from the South Saskatchewan River.

Communities in southern Alberta experienced heavy rainfall beginning on June 19 and some 75,000 residents of Calgary, the province’s largest city, were evacuated. Three deaths have been reported outside of the metropolitan area.

Water on the Elbow River late on June 20 was flowing more than three times faster than during a 2005 flood that damaged 40,000 homes, Alberta Premier Alison Redford told reporters yesterday.

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