Friday, July 09, 2010

Understanding the magnitude of this disaster

For Canadians who want to understand what this year's Prairie floods are going to do to the Saskatchewan economy, here is the summary from a CBC story about farm flood aid:
Normally, about 32 million acres of land are seeded in the spring. This year, heavy rains in the spring made the soil too wet and prevented many farmers from getting out into their fields.
The result was that about 10 million acres of Saskatchewan farmland went unseeded this spring, while another two million acres that were seeded are under water and won't produce a crop.
So a third of farm income in the province will disappear. The damage isn't evenly distributed, either -- while some areas will be able to take a crop off, others will have virtually nothing to harvest:
"I've got some farmers that have e-mailed me that [have] 5,000 or 6,000 acres, that have managed to seed 500 or 600," [Saskatoon commodities analyst Larry Weber] said. "Take a 90 per cent reduction in your wage in a year and see how fast and how far that 10 per cent is going to carry you."
We were living in BC during the early 80s, when 35,000 forest industry jobs disappeared in six months. The impact was horrendous throughout the province -- whole towns disappeared.
I'm afraid the Prairie flood of 2010 is going to be a similar disaster, far beyond even our usual "next year country" stiff upper lip.

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