Prairie farmers take a hit as oil and gas slowdown stalls drilling rigs

CALGARY - For 56-year-old farmer Shannon Webb, waking up Friday to six inches of snow coating his grain fields near Wynyard, Sask., the frustration of an interrupted harvest wins out, for now, over worry about the ongoing oil-and-gas drilling downturn.

Like many Prairie farmers, Webb has used a steady paycheque from working on drilling rigs in winter and summer for decades to pay down his land and equipment debt and stabilize his farm income. He's been able to leave the rig to tend his farm in spring and fall and go back to the oilpatch when dry weather or frozen ground allows drilling to ramp up again.

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