MILLION DOLLAR HARVEST

Members of the CARGILL team were in attendance at the 14th Annual Cdn Foodgrains Harvest.

Near Millet, AB – They changed the date twice because of the weather and went about their business in the meantime: when the perfect day came, on Monday October the 15th, a few phone calls enlisted all the help they needed… The 14th Annual Harvest of the Leduc & District Growing Project took place on a beautiful, dry autumn day and it was a plentiful harvest!
 A group of kind-hearted, local farmers decided years ago to share the land’s bounty to help the Canadian Foodgrains Bank “End World Hunger”, one harvest at a time. This year, in two kitty-corner fields South-east of Leduc, these kind-hearted Leduc farmers harvested 280 acres of canola that had been cut a few weeks prior and that was laying in wait, maturing on the ground as canola should. Two corporate entities, Viterra and Cargill, will purchase and process the grain, the proceeds contributing to the Project.
 This year’s harvest is a milestone, as the money raised through these fourteen years has exceeded  1 million dollars.  This money is distributed by a trustworthy group to African projects, not just to feed the hungry, but also to create agricultural programs that will help these regions feed their population! Across Canada this past year, over 15,000 acres were harvested by 255 community growing projects.
 Wherever possible, Canadian Foodgrains Bank members deliver food assistance through “food-for-work” projects. In such a project, people are paid 3 kilograms of wheat a day, in exchange for their work on community projects. Most food-for-work projects focus on agricultural rehabilitation, soil and water conservation, or road and bridge construction.
 Each year, the Federal Government through CIDA (the Canadian International Development Agency) contributes $25 Million to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank: it means that these donations are leveraged, and the CFB can reach even more people! Interesting facts to keep in mind: one ton of wheat will feed 2,500 people for a day, and $100 will feed a family of five for three months! Cor Abma, a well-known farmer of the Millet area, is the coordinator of the Leduc & District Growing Project, and shares that it was “the weather and the farmer’s completion of their own harvests that combined in choosing the date of this annual project”. Cancelling the harvest and leaving the canola to rot on the ground was never an option.  Farmers and their combines as well as others with their own grain trucks were hailing from Leduc, Millet and the Hay Lakes area to accomplish this. This harvest has enjoyed the cooperation of as many as 28 combines in a precious year, and this year there were 11 at the onset, with probably another one or two being expected. More than five grain trucks were lined up, waiting patiently for their precious cargo.
 With articulate passion and tireless energy, John and Wendy are yearly contributors to this project, Hohn lending his machinery expertise while Wendy Taekema, the group’s secretary, researches pertinent information to create an informative brochure, from which some of these facts have been ‘borrowed’.
 On that Monday, coffee and cool refreshments were dispensed on the tailgate of a pick-up truck: FCCS (Farm Credit Canada Services) had planned an elaborate lunch, to be served under a large tent with square bales to accommodate the nearly 300 guests they were expecting –contributing farmers, their families and friends and spectator-s, but the change of dates and short notice did not make this lunch possible. Gordon Schneider, a retired Leduc business owner, was there to drive a combine owned by one of his brothers, -Dennis or Norman-, both full-time farmers. As he does every year, Gordon enjoys driving the big green machine and contributing to this great cause.
 Many friends and family members of these farmers made it to this event, and one young farmer had a wife and four kids in the cab of his imposing combine!
 Wayne and Doug Schneider are the “young ones”, the future of this family farm enterprise: they exemplify the future of this industry.
 The Canadian Farming Industry is no stranger to borrowing skilled labor and expertise from another country: Cargill’s sales exec Jesus Rodal is a native of Mexico who moved here with his lovely wife Viviana and their teenage son a short 14 months ago. He “enjoys his position immensely, and appreciates his farming clients’ friendliness, in the Counties of Leduc and Wetaskiwin”. His accent is pronounced, but his English is quite articulate! He joined Scott Jacques, a more seasoned Cargill Sales professional, and Colin Boender (Edmonton Cargill) to attend the harvest, presenting an enthusiastic and cheerful front. 
 Rod Schafer of Prairie Seeds had been looking forward to this day, and quickly extricated himself from other business duties when the call came… Along with other members of the Committee, he agreed to pose in front of an impressive row of twelve combines, a visual memory that had not been created in past years. The Pipestone Flyer and this writer were thrilled to witness this milestone event, and wish to congratulate the individuals and corporate entities who made this $1 Million Harvest a reality!

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