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Another county in Alberta declares emergency over drought conditions

LAMONT, Alta. -- Lamont County has declared a local state of agriculture disaster as por-tions of the province continue to be ravaged by drought conditions not seen for decades.

LAMONT, Alta. -- Lamont County has declared a local state of agriculture disaster as por-tions of the province continue to be ravaged by drought conditions not seen for decades.

There are at least five other municipalities that have made similar declarations, including Camrose, Paintearth, Provost, Smoky River and Vermilion River.

Lamont Reeve Wayne Woldanski says there are areas of the county that have had no pre-cipitation at all this spring.

The lack of rain, periods of cooler weather, late-season frost and poor germination and emergence were all factors that led to the declaration.

On top of that, Woldanski says in some areas of the county grasshoppers are also moving in.

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They can destroy crops.

Woldanski said the county will lobby the provincial and federal governments for assis-tance.

Camrose County declared a local state of agricultural disaster last week.

Canola farmers there are seeing damage to up to 80 per cent of their crops, and cattle pro-ducers are struggling as the majority of their pasture lands dry up, according to county offi-cials.

Ralph Wright, a soil moisture expert with Alberta Agriculture, said many parts of central Alberta are experiencing one in 25-year precipitation lows.

Woldanski said in his county, cattle producers are being hit the hardest.

"They've got very little or no pasture, and no hay crops for their cattle herds," he said. "Certainly they are the ones that are suffering."

Since the beginning of April, only 45 mm of rain has fallen on the Edmonton area, said En-vironment Canada meteorologist Bill McMurtry.

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The normal for the period starting April 1 to the end of June is 163 mm.

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