Spring seeding in jeopardy on flooded farms in northern Alberta – Edmonton

A northern Alberta farmer says 10 per cent of his land is underwater due to severe flooding along the Whitemud River north of Peace River.

John Krysztan, a grain farmer near Dixonville, has watched the river steadily rise, and water now covers close to 1,500 acres of his land.

“In some places, it’s up to three feet [deep],” he said.

Krysztan said cold and wet weather has already put him three weeks behind in seeding on his 10,000-acre farm.

Now he won’t be able to plant anything on those flooded acres.

Extra costs to clean up the land 

“Obviously there won’t be any money coming off of that land this year,” he said. “And the cleanup is probably going to be pretty costly, like all the debris from the river that’s going to be in the fields.”

The flooding has compounded problems on Krysztan’s farm, which was started by his grandfather in the 1950s.

John Krysztan and his son, Mitchell, stand beside part of their flooded farm. (Karen Krysztan)

“We still have 4,000 acres [of crops] that we left out from last fall, because it was so wet,” he said. “And this spring’s been so wet, we haven’t been able to deal with that yet.”

Snow at the end of September prevented him from harvesting the crop.

“I think it’s pretty well going to be rotten in the fields,” said Krysztan, whose farm is about 500 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

Many Alberta farmers are facing similar problems this spring.

Insurance claims were filed for 960,000 unharvested acres in the province last year, significantly more than the annual average of 23,000 acres during the three previous years.

No money from insurance yet for fall crops

Krysztan has crop insurance with the province’s Agriculture Financial Services Corporation.

But so far, he hasn’t received any payment for his ruined fall crop.

‘We don’t have any income from that”, he said. “So that’s getting to be pretty painful too.”

Flooding covers part of the road at John Krysztan’s farm near Dixonville, Alta….

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