Thursday, October 18, 2012

2012 - Lentils Support United Church Food Projects

2012 was another difficult year, but we managed to generate about 1280 bushels of red lentils to be sold and donated to United Church projects overseas. The spring was very wet and breakdowns on our air seeder delayed seeding. Hail in the summer knocked about 20% of the lentils off the plant, but worse yet, it pushed the crop so low to the ground it was very difficult to harvest. The harvest weather was beautiful though, and in a difficult year we are happy to have anything in the bin.

2011 - Field Left fallow

In 2011 we are leaving the field fallow, thanks to chemical donations from Monsanto and Viterra. We will continue with further third-world support with a new crop in 2012.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2010 Crop Generates $31,868.40 for Food-For-Work in Bangladesh

Our 2010 wheat crop, as poor as it was, generated $6,373.68 which has been donated to a food-for-work project in Bangladesh. The Canadian International Development Agency will match our donation 4:1, resulting in $31,868.40 total aid generated by the project. The project is run by World Relief Canada, with support from the United Church. It supports a group called Koinonia in Kandi & Suagram Unions in Gopalgonj District in Bangladesh. This project will improve the local agricultural environment by draining stagnant water, and by rehabilitating canals, using food-for-work. Regular maintenance of the canals and roads will be ensured through formation of local canal management committees. New techniques and training on field and horticultural crops, fish culture, and poultry and livestock production will be introduced to help meet year round nutritional needs and enhance the income of the local people. The project will utilize 605 tonnes of rice for the food-for-work component of the project benefiting 1,450 families. The other food security activities will benefit another 1,590 families.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

2010 Wheat Crop - A Year of Rain, Geese and Wads of Straw

This year we planted 80 acres of wheat on flax stubble. It was a struggle from start to finish. Our troubles began in the fall of 2009 when Sparks Farms baled the flax straw for us. Unfortunately a strong wind came up before the center of the field had been baled, and it blew the straw all over the place. As a result, when it came time to seed, the seed drill was constantly plugged with straw, requiring us to regularly climb under the equipment and pull out wads of straw. Unrelated to the straw, our seeder broke during optimum weather and was fixed just in time for a long period of rain. When we finally got back to seeding, much of the outside of the crop was already growing. We had to try to burn the remaining flax straw so the seeder would work. The rain was so constant all summer we barely found an opportunity when the soil was dry enough to spray herbicide. When a brief spraying opportunity finally came, we quickly did the work, using what chemical we had had in the tank for the other crops. As a result we couldn't take advantage of herbicide donations by Dow and Syngenta. The crop was heavily fertilized, and had lots of water, but it came up quite poor. It would probably have yielded only about 25 to 30 bushels per acre, had the geese not eaten much of it. The final yield on the crop was about 1200 bushels of feed wheat.

This year the money we raise will help support a Nutrition and Food Security project in Bangladesh. This is a 5 year project impacting about 21,000 low income households and addressing poverty (lack of income) and malnutrition in 70 communities.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 Crop Supports Tamil Refugees

Our 2009 flax crop was donated to help provide food security for Tamil people displaced by war in the North of Sri Lanka. The crop was sold for $14,441, all of which was donated. The Canadian International Development Agency matched our donation 4:1, resulting in $72,205 total aid generated by the project. The overseas project is being administered by Elaine Bumstead with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. She explains that the donation will “feed hungry people in our world and in particular these Tamil peoples who are so traumatized by war, who have lost everything including loved ones, and who are now destitute and facing the prospects of returning to homes and land which were damaged or destroyed, to start over.” The overseas project was started in mid-June 2009 by Nazarene Compassionate Ministries to provide rice, dahl, oil, sugar, salt and vegetables for 20,000 people in a camp (Manek farm camp) in the North of Sri Lanka near Vavuniya. The original $589,810 was funded through Canadian Foodgrains Bank with the support of The Salvation Army, World Relief Canada, Christian and Missionary Alliance, and the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada. When the initial money ran out additional funding was provided by the Presbyterian Church, The Salvation Army, and the Catholic Church. Photo of typical distribution of cooked food (not Manek Camp)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How it works

Each year a crop is planted on 80 acres at the Denny farm located two miles North and three miles East of Milden, Saskatchwan. Materials and labour for the crop are provided by local farmers and businesses. All funds generated by the sale of that crop are donated to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFB) who allocate the money to a specific overseas project. The Canadian government typcially matches CFB donations 4:1, so $10,000 generated by a crop results in $50,000 to spend overseas. CFB's mission is to fight hunger. Sometimes their projects provide food to the malnourished. Often projects provide seed, tools, fertilizer, irrigation, or education to help farmers to feed their own communities. More information about CFB can be found at

Monday, November 9, 2009

2009 Flax Crop

This year we seeded 80 acres of flax on lentils stubble, fertilizing with a high level of phosphorous. It was a difficult spring. Cool soil temperature forced late seeding and there was very little moisture for the shallow seed. Round-up (provided by Monsanto) was used for initial weed burn-off, but very few weeds had emerged by that point. In-crop spray (provided by Greenfields) was applied later which helped control wild oats. We received good rain starting in late June. Although the crop was significantly set back, the June and July rains helped significantly. Weed control was reasonably successful, although there were some areas with wild oat and volunteer oats. Grasshoppers were also a concern, but were controlled thanks to the assistance of Curtis Jensen. Both crop insurance and hail insurance were taken for the crop, with additional hail insurance contributed by McQueen Agencies. Swathing began September 15th but a major drive shaft on the swather broke. Sparks Farms came to the rescue by contributing all the swathing. We had hoped to begin combining around September 25th, but rain delayed us until October 30. Even then the crop was not dry enough and we had to cut the teeth out of the pickup auger of one combine to stop the flax straw from back feeding. Neighbor Bill Lees helped speed harvest by running one combine. We also ran fans in the granary to help dry the crop. The price of flax recently plummeted to half its recent value, however Western Grain Trade generously provided a subsidized contract of over $9.00 FOB.