After 26 consecutive years of growing crops to help feed the world’s hungry, Central Alberta Foodgrains Growing Project was almost without a plot of land this spring.
Doug Maas, committee board member with the project, said thankfully 50 acres of land west of Lacombe was donated just in time to make it 27 consecutive years for the project which donates the proceeds from its crop to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
“It was really difficult finding land this year,” Maas said.
“We’re very thankful for that parcel because it just became available at the end of April. Seeding starts then and we were wondering if we’d be able to continue.”
He said usually land for the project is identified in January or February, but it’s been a really competitive situation when land comes up for sale or rent in the Lacombe area.
He said the war in Ukraine has definitely affected farmers around the world, including North America.
“The cost of putting a crop in the ground was probably a major concern for farmers this year, and the fuel prices as well went up. They’re hoping for good returns.”
He said the world’s grain supply may also continue to be under threat despite an agreement between Russia and Ukraine to resume grain shipments from Ukraine.
On Saturday a Russian official said an airstrike on the port of Odesa — less than a day after Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement on resuming grain shipments from there — had hit only military targets. But others report that one missile struck a grain silo while another landed nearby, although neither affected loading at Odesa’s docks.
Last year Central Alberta Foodgrains Growing Project had a 120-acre canola field and the harvest raised $115,000 for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a Christian-based organization out of Winnipeg that provides international food assistance. Money raised from the crops are matched four to one by the federal government.
Maas said the size of the field has varied over the years, but the central Alberta project is one of the oldest in Alberta, probably Canada.
The project moves around Lacombe County and this year’s crop is in a new location off of Woody Nook Road.
“Last year’s crop was a decent crop, but it really needed the moisture to make it more bountiful. This year with all the rain we’ve had, the crop is just looking wonderful.”
He said so far there’s been no hail damage. The crop will likely be swathed in early September and harvested later that month or early October.
— with files from The Associated Press