Alta. farmers harvest crop for charity, despite cool and wet weather

A rainy and cool summer has set harvesting season back two to three weeks, says one farmer involved with the annual “Share the Harvest” event in Fort Saskatchewan.

For 17 years, farmers in the area have been growing crops and raising proceeds to help fight hunger in developing countries.

On Saturday, dozens gathered to harvest 295 acres of tea barley. Officials said there was 24 per cent content moisture, which is considered high, and made for a slow process.

Among the most-affected crops is peas, which one farmer said is not yielding well this year and is susceptible to disease.

“Farmers need a break,” Share The Harvest Director Shaun Galloway said.

“The last three years have been horrible and we’re kind of thinking that everyone is going to get a break this year. So far that hasn’t materialized.”

While some farmers experienced flooding in their fields, others were able to salvage a lot of their grain.

“We’re going to take it off,” Share The Harvest farmer Cecil Goutbeck said. “A lot of the guys have equipment to dry the material, so we have some pretty advanced equipment for that.”

Not all crops are suffering, though. Galloway said early reports on wheat and fall rye are encouraging.

This year’s Share The Harvest crop will be worth an estimated $140,000, and the charity is eligible for further funding from the federal government. All proceeds go to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

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