Thursday, 21 September 2017 06:57

Swift Current area supports Foodgrains Bank

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Agronomists do a field walk during the harvest of the durum crop at the Lone Tree community project, Sept. 11. From left to right, Troy LaForge, Haley Caswell, and Tyler Wotherspoon. Agronomists do a field walk during the harvest of the durum crop at the Lone Tree community project, Sept. 11. From left to right, Troy LaForge, Haley Caswell, and Tyler Wotherspoon.

Farmers have been helping to harvest crops at two locations in the Swift Current area that will provide financial support for Canadian Foodgrains Bank development programs.


The Grasslands Growing Project has been taking place in the Swift Current area for about 11 years. It consists of the Lone Tree community project just northeast of Swift Current and the Stewart Valley community project.
The harvest of a durum crop on 157 acres of land at the Lone Tree community project took place Sept. 11 while the 135 acre canola crop at the Stewart Valley project was harvested a few days earlier.
The harvest at the Lone Tree project delivered a crop of 17 bushels per acre while the Stewart Valley project produced a crop of close to 35 bushels per acre.
According to project committee member Troy LaForge the lack of moisture and dry conditions during the growing season was a real challenge this year, and the results from the harvest was therefore a good outcome.
“We just got to be thankful for what we did get,” he said. “At the end of the day, considering how little water we had, every bushel was basically a blessing.”
The durum crop at the Lone Tree project was seeded into alfalfa stubble. That land was planted with alfalfa for the previous three years.
“We had planned to put the alfalfa in to basically aid that land and it’s ability to yield in the long term,” he said. “We did well with the alfalfa. So it’s time to rotate to another crop now.”
The land at the Stewart Valley project produced a lentil crop last year and for this year it changed to canola.
“We try and rotate responsibly and do what’s best for the land and the budget,” he said.
The Grasslands Growing Project has been well supported by land owners and various businesses in the Swift Current area over the years.
“We always have decent participation from farmers in the area, retailers, custom applicators, grading companies,” LaForge noted. “We have a great community that really likes to throw support behind both projects. ... Thank you to everybody that’s been supporting the projects.”
The dollar amount that will be raised from this harvest for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank still needs to be determined.
“We won’t know that for a little bit yet until the grade is marketed,” he said.
A funding agreement between the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and the Canadian government means financial contributions are matched at a four-to-one level by the federal government. The money raised by the Grasslands Growing Project will therefore have a fourfold impact in the fight against global hunger. Every year the Grasslands Growing Project committee members will decide on an allocation of funding based on needs identified by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
“Each year the Foodgrains Bank has several major projects that they’re funding, whether it’s food relief, infrastructure projects or education,” he said. “There’s several places that it can go. So each year, based on what’s going on in the world, our donation may change as to where it lands.”
The Grasslands Growing Project will have a display table with information about its projects and the work of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank at the upcoming SwiftLink Charity Expo in Swift Current. The expo, which will be an opportunity for charity groups to share information about their work with the community, will take place at the Swift Current Mall on Oct. 28 from 1-4 p.m.

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Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer

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