A team of local farmers in the Morden area joined forces on the weekend to harvest a pair of wheat fields in aid of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
"We were able to harvest 370 acres of wheat on Saturday with a whole bunch of help from a whole bunch of other guys," said Ben Friesen, coordinator for the SHARE organization that grew the crop for the foodgrains bank.
"We had up to 9 or 10 combines in the field at one time. I kind of lost count, because they were in all different directions and everything, but I believe we had 10 people participating with combines. The Dalke’s also brought out a grain cart, which was great. And then of course, BP Grain, he brought us the Super B’s, and we were happy to fill them up, and had just a wonderful harvest on Saturday. The weather was extremely warm and hot for harvest day. It was great!"
Friesen says the half-section field, located northwest of Morden, yielded extremely well, around 63 bushels per acre net. A second field, 120 acres at Thornhill corner, which received less rain, produced 40 to 45 bushels per acre.
The SHARE group has been contributing to the non-profit for some fifteen years, raising nearly $2 million in the process.
"Pretty much everything we put into the ground is either supplied by the group of farmers that I have, as well as the businesses," explains Friesen. "We have very good support on seed and everything. We get most of our inputs donated. Fertilizer we usually have to pay for. We make some deals, but at the same time, some of that has an actual cost, where we use donated funds to buy that, or some of the farmers contribute for that."
Local farmers also supply the implements needed for the project, such as tractors, air seeders and combines.
"When we get a cheque for the product, we pretty much have a profit cheque that we pass on to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank."
While the goal is lofty, Friesen says the foodgrains bank is dedicated to ending world hunger.
"The Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a bank, and they supply out to 15 or 16 other organizations who then do the work in supplying. I've been on a number of their projects in Ethiopia and South Africa and a few others. They really try not to just give handouts. The name of the game is to try to use the funds to help the people over there become self-sufficient, to try to help them do their own farming, to do their own vegetable growing, so they can feed their families. And yes, definitely at some areas and in some emergencies, they also send out truckloads of food, and make sure that people get the food itself."
The group has a few other fields waiting to be harvested.
The large one-day harvest operations are a community affair, with farmers gathering to trade notes and share a meal once the crop is in the bin.
With files from Robyn Wiebe
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