Jason Verkaik with Carron Farms comments on the flooding

Will Ontario growers be able to handle setbacks in future?

At this point Jason Verkaik of Carron Farms says it’s a definite that they’ll have to reseed some acres of carrots – about half of the crop in fact. “There’s no doubt about that. We’re still pumping off surface water in our fields,” he said. With more rain in the forecast tomorrow and Friday it will be a true test to see what will happen with his carrot and onion crops moving forward into the season. “Right now we’re still working to save crops and to get fields dried quick enough so we can still do some reseeding within the two week window that we have left.” 

Photo of flooded onion field, by Carron Farms

Still a possibility of catching up
Carron Farms has about 250 acres total. About 60 acres of carrots will be reseeded. “There’s still a window for carrots to grow. There might be reduced yield but that’s still acceptable under the circumstances and it’s better than no yield,” he stated. “It all depends how the rest of the summer and fall play out. If it stays more balanced in the summer we can still catch up.” 

All farms in the Holland Marsh are in the same boat, but with some areas looking worse than others, according to Verkaik. Even the areas that might look good, the ground is still saturated so there is still a risk to the roots of the crops. He says there’s about 10,000 – 11,000 acres of farms in the area. “We’ve all been affected but there’s still a lot of crop that could still turn out OK. We really need the weather to turn.”

Government regulations constrict competitiveness
Something that continues to weigh on Verkaik’s mind – especially in situations like the adverse weather they’ve had – is government regulations and policies that have the potential to constrict the competitiveness of his industry in Ontario. Weather is the number one factor that affects farming, he says and competition has been challenged as of late with increased hydro rates and environmental regulations and “overburdensome red tape”. Plus, with the rise of minimum wage that will happen coming in the New Year he says it puts things at a real competitive disadvantage. With too many restrictions on their ability to financially sustain themselves through situations like major crop loss, it becomes harder and harder to be able to handle these setbacks. It’s a message he feels isn’t being relayed enough. “It’s an important message for the fruit and vegetable growers of Ontario.”

Jason Verkaik
Carron Farms
Tel: 905-775-2432

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