Through a survey of growers across the province, the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia (CTCNS) has confirmed that the Lunenburg County area has been hardest hit with the freeze and frosts that followed it, though the central and northeastern areas have not escaped loss.
In the days since the initial freeze, growers have learned that their losses are significantly higher than initially reported: averaging 50 per cent this year and extensive damage in upcoming years.
CTCNS has been working with the Department of Agriculture and the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture to determine what support might be available to growers to help them and their employees through a difficult year. As there is no crop insurance program available to growers, their only other avenue would be AgriStability, and very few farms in Nova Scotia participate in that program given the significant costs and complex reporting that is required. We believe that something needs to be done to address this gap for the continued success of the industry and vibrancy of communities in rural Nova Scotia, not just for the growers, but also those employees who will have their hours reduced, or are facing a layoff.
Although the Department of Natural Resources no longer has a dedicated Christmas tree resource, council produced an information sheet regarding ways in which growers can deal with this ‘once in a generation weather event’ which has been distributed to all registered growers. In conjunction with the Lunenburg Christmas Tree Producers’ Association, council also hosted a field day at the Seffernville Lot this past Saturday.
Our thoughts are with everyone in the agriculture sector who has been impacted by this unseasonably cold weather. I would encourage everyone to support Nova Scotian farmers in whatever way you can, and if you know a farmer, take some extra time to check in with them and really listen to what they are saying.
If required, assistance is available through the Farm Family Support Centre by calling
Angus Bonnyman, executive director
Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia