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Farmers Disappointed with Season Response Program

Jun 24, 2024

Farmers who applied to the Season Response Program are disappointed and surprised by the lack of fairness and transparency in the funding distribution.

After a devastating growing season in 2023 as a result of climate change, the province created the Season Response Program, which boasted up to $150,000 in relief for farmers affected by a poor growing season.

Lisa Jenereaux of Spurr Brothers Farms in Annapolis applied to the program after their crops were destroyed last year. Given the extent of the damage, the farm expected to receive the full amount that was available. Instead, they received less than half of the expected amount, and noted the discrepancies in the valuation process for different types of produce. For example, strawberry crops were valued by pounds lost and onion crops were valued by acres lost. When they looked to the department for an explanation, they were met with little information.

“The tremendous loss we experienced last year put a huge strain on our operation," said Jenereaux. “Farmers were promised relief with this program, but what was delivered was unpredictable and insufficient. This program gave us hope, but unfortunately, we were let down.”

With record-high temperatures and less rain than previous years, this year’s season is already off to rough start for farmers. As climate change events become more severe and more frequent, the sector needs a more transparent and predictable funding program to rely on.

“The Houston government is letting farmers down at a time when we need local food security more than ever,” said Agriculture critic Carman Kerr. “To learn that there was no rhyme or reason to how the department calculated funding shows how out of touch they are with the realities of the industry. Government needs to be fair and transparent in its response to ensure farmers can survive and succeed.”

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