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Harvest time road ban risks farmers' livelihoods: Bikman

CARDSTON, AB (September 3, 2013): The Alberta Government needs to immediately re-evaluate the road ban in place  during harvest on Highway 505 west of Highway 2, Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Gary Bikman said today. 

In an email to Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson and Transportation Minister Ric McIver this week, Bikman urged the ministers to end the 75 per cent road ban on Highway 505. The Transportation department placed the ban in spring and reinstated it again last week. The local road ban is effectively blocking farmers from getting their crops off the fields in a timely manner, said Bikman “The road ban is a severe hardship on farmers and their crews working long hours trying to get the crops off and in the bin,” Bikman said. “To our farmers, nothing justifies this failure to prioritize making equipment or repair capacity available earlier in the year or waiting until after we’re done to avoid this kind of costly situation during harvest.” Bikman noted the ban on Highway 505 has caused significant disruption to the local harvest in part because no practical alternative routes are available. He expressed frustration with the lack of attention from Alberta Transportation to the needs of local farmers during harvest, and noted the local transportation department was unable to tell him when the last road testing occurred. “The ministers responsible need to address this situation on Highway 505 urgently to find a solution that doesn’t impede the harvest,” Bikman said. “It is unfair to penalize local farmers due to this government’s lack of foresight and planning.” “Remember, we buy our groceries at the supermarket but they come from our farmers.”