Crossborders crop project harvests 275 acres of wheat for Foodgrains Bank
The Crossborders Growing Project harvested 275 acres of land just east of Kola, Manitoba.
The 275 acres produced 19,796 bushels of wheat. It took a little over two hours for the volunteers to complete the task.
Due to the new normal it was not as crowded as it used to be.
“There weren’t as many of us as the other times. I think COVID-19 played a role in that, ”said Gord Janzen, Regional Grain Bank coordinator for Manitoba.
Although the turnout was lower than in the past, the attendees seemed to be in a good mood.
“It was really good for a lot of reasons. The yield of the harvest, the way the community has come together around this specific project and just the fact that the community is looking beyond themselves, which is always encouraging to me, ”Janzen said.
The cross-border growth project has been a tradition in the community of Kola for over a decade.
“I think it’s been over ten years now and I think it’s a big effort for these communities. They are giving away their land, which they could have kept for their own harvest, but no, they are looking beyond themselves, ”Janzen said.
Crossborders Growing Project is one of 39 growing projects in Manitoba that support Foodgrains Bank. All money from the harvest is tied 4: 1 by the federal government.
“The Canadian government is matching donations on a four-to-one basis for our food aid programs,” Janzen said.
“It really makes a difference. “
Don Neufeld, project coordinator of the cross-border project, is as happy with this year’s harvest as Janzen.
“It went very well. We had 10 combines, nine tractor units and four grain wagons, ”Neufeld said.
“We’ll haul (the wheat) to the elevator and they’ll pay us, and then we’ll give that money to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, and then the federal government will tie it four to one,” Neufeld said.
This matching system is capped at $ 7 million.
Neufeld has been active in the Crossborders growth project for over 30 years.
“My father was the project coordinator before his death. He was the PR guy. I was just a rude worker for many years, but when he passed away I inherited everything. So now I do the heavy lifting and the organizational part, ”Neufeld said.
“I love it. I’m actually privileged and blessed to be able to do it. I get more out of it than I actually put in.
The main gathering on harvest day is usually lunch which is served to volunteers. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this tradition has had to change a bit.
“We have eaten lunch. It was prepackaged. The sponsors (Farm Credit Corporation) couldn’t serve it like they usually do, but that didn’t stop the community from coming together, ”said Neufeld.
In the 30 years that Neufeld has worked with the Crossborders Project, it has gone through some changes.
“When my dad and uncle started working with Foodgrains Bank, we actually had land right on the border between Manitoba and Saskatchewan. We had an 88 acre parcel there, and then we had one in Saskatchewan, which is why it’s called Crossborders, because we actually farmed these two pieces together. Over the years it actually got bigger, ”Neufeld said.
Hellen Koop, who owned the 275 acres, approached Neufeld.
“She came to me and asked me if we wanted to take her half section and split it up and cultivate it. We rented her from her for 10 or 12 years and then when she died her family came to me and we bought her, ”said Neufeld.
The growing project now owns the land and there is no need to try to find land to use each year.
“It’s the longest we’ve been in one place. At first we moved from place to place where we could collect land. He has been there for 15 years, ”said Neufeld.
Neufeld is very proud to be part of the Foodgrains Bank and he is not at all surprised that they have secured additional funding for projects related to COVID-19.
“Of all the organizations I have been involved with, they are the most effective administratively in terms of real dollars in the field. Only five percent of the money raised by the Canadian Foodgrain Bank goes to administration, ”Neufeld said.
Additional government funding
The Canadian Grain Bank has received additional funding to address global hunger caused by COVID-19.
The Canadian government’s $ 2.3 million will be used to support small farmers in Africa and will benefit approximately 100,000 people. The fund is made available on a 3: 1 match basis, allowing Foodgrains Bank to contribute over $ 700,000 for a total response of $ 3 million.
The World Food Program warns that we could face the worst humanitarian food crisis since World War II due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so institutions like the Foodgrains Bank and the support they provide are crucial.
“The small farmers we work with in developing countries have been significantly affected by COVID-19 prevention methods,” said Jim Cornelius, Executive Director of Foodgrains Bank.
“Drastic efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus have disrupted livelihoods, agricultural production and food supply chains. For small farmers who depend on the crops they grow for their food and income, these disruptions can mean the difference between having food on their plates or not, ”he adds.
The new grant will be used for projects in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya. Program activities will start in 2020 and continue in 2021 as part of a long-term response.
Based on consultations with local African partners of the Foodgrains Bank, the new grant will focus on providing agricultural support services to help farmers increase their harvests and support community savings and loan groups, in order that farmers can buy seeds and other inputs. The subsidy will also help farmers bring their crops to market.
“When the COVID-19 health crisis hit, Foodgrains Bank continued to work as an essential service, instead of shutting down programs, we and our partners did all we could to make emergency food distribution safe. for staff and families who need help, ”Cornelius said.
The additional funds will enable members of the Food Grain Bank to reduce the growing risk of hunger for smallholder farmers by protecting their livelihoods and guarding against threats to their farms.
“With this additional support from Global Affairs Canada, we have the opportunity to ensure that smallholder farmers and the communities in Africa who depend on them have access to food throughout this pandemic and beyond,” he said. Cornelius said.