Ottawa-area farmers met with federal officials and conversation authorities in a tense meeting Thursday night to discuss who will foot the bill for flooded fields and destroyed crops.

Farmers claim portions of their lands have been flooded due to high water levels on the Rideau River, which is overseen and managed by Parks Canada.

They are now demanding financial compensation from the federal government.

"What is the answer? What are you going to do to help us?" said one of the roughly 70 landowners at Thursday's meeting in Manotick.


Some Ottawa-area farmers want compensation from the government for their flooding crops. (Steve Fischer/CBC)

Parks Canada and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority advised farmers Thursday night that shutting down the Rideau River is not a solution.

"We really don't see how we have been able to contribute to the flooding that's been happening," said Jewel Cunningham, director of Ontario waterways for Parks Canada. "We attribute it to the rainfall."

Damage estimated in hundreds of thousands of dollars

Crop insurance does not cover flooding and farmers in the region estimate the damage could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"It's a big chunk of money and you don't get it back, nobody covers it. It's right out of pocket," said Tom Black, with the Ontario Landowners Association.

Farmers are threatening to take the issue to court if they do not receive compensation.

"If the legal route had to be followed," said lawyer Terrance Green, "Then the people that control the level of the water are the ones that are liable for the harm being caused to private property."