Fall flooding at and around Tim Berscheid’s ranch in the Rural Municipality of Kelsey, near The Pas, has left 400 of his cattle reachable only by canoe.
Berscheid has fed the stranded cattle the last of his accessible feed and is now considering letting them forage a partially-flooded cornfield.
Berscheid and his wife Michelle have farmed in the area for nearly four decades and their struggles with excess water become more dire each year, he said.
He alleges illegal drainage, poor maintenance of culverts, failure to enforce existing regulations and self-interest among those charged with water management have all contributed to this fall’s flooding.
Reeve Rod Berezowecki of the RM of Kelsey disputes that assessment. “It is absolutely not man-made flooding,” he said. “There is no one organization or person you can point the finger at that is causing this, this is Mother Nature.”
The area is traditionally moisture-prone, he said, even before it received three times what’s considered normal rainfall over the last few months.
A brief film, pleading the Berscheids’ case and calling for the cattle to be rescued, was recently posted on video-sharing site Vimeo, and a petition urging immediate action from provincial Infrastructure Minister Blaine Pedersen has been posted online.
Check out the Nov. 3 issue of the Co-operator for the full story.