Viterra Continues Working With Canadian Food Grains Bank This Spring

May 25, 2021

Rural Albertans do a lot each year to improve the lives of those living overseas.

The annual harvest for the Canadian Food Grains Bank is certainly a good example of that. A 6-year project with the food grains bank and Viterra is continuing again this spring in southern Alberta. Ryan Mercer farms near Lethbridge and is involved in the program.  "We get excellent support from both dealerships, from local farmers in the community.  It's been four years now, not a long time that I've been involved but I know other friends and neighbours that have been involved a lot longer than I have. It's an excellent way to bring the community together for a good cause."

The volunteer program has a diverse crop selections according to Mercer.  "We're growing spring wheat, durum, barley, peas, lentils, flax, mustard, so there's been a lot of different crops. Rotation, agronomically speaking, is really important.  The more we can rotate for integrated pest management, helps with the health of the soil, disease and insect resistance, it's that much better if you can have a long rotation.  The more crops you can put in that rotation, the better, in terms of pulses and oilseeds."

Even though it was a difficult year for farmers in Southern Alberta, Mercer notes that the program continues to increase its base.  "It's been a steady increase every year.  We see excellent support from all sides, sponsorship side, volunteer side, from farmers wanting to help out.  It's heartwarming to see the response that we get.  Its a program that continues to grow every year."

Mercer believes this is a great program to integrate urban and rural Albertans.  "I think it's a way to bring the urban community, the rural community, farmers together.  I think we saw a lot of this back a hundred years ago when the land was being settled.  The community spirit of helping each other out is alive and well in a program like this."

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