A total of 165-acres of land was seeded with Canada prairie spring wheat and now the waiting begins for the Ponoka branch of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
The group raised funds from farming land south of Ponoka and is managed by a group of volunteers that cultivate the field and put money to programs that endeavour to stop hunger in developing nations.
Larry Henderson is one of the members of the Ponoka branch and he says there were four poultry farmers who donated poultry manure to help fertilize the wheat. This helps reduce the cost of buying commercial fertilizer, which costs approximately $13 an acre. He is seeking corporate sponsorship for the fertilizer.
“It’s going in very cheaply and of course, that means more money we can raise in the future,” said Henderson.
All he hopes for now is a good season that will bring a large yield. Last year the group planted canola and raised more than $100,000 from the crop sale. That, and a 4-1 matching federal grant under Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, the Ponoka branch was able to raise more than half a million dollars last season.
Farmers gather together each year for seeding and harvesting, which Henderson feels brings social benefits to the area as well. He likens their efforts to how producers used to work together many years ago.
“It’s a community thing…This sort of thing brings them back together,” said Henderson.
He says the program brings together many volunteers who are working on 34 projects in the area.