Rural youth are learning how conservation and modern crop production techniques can work together thanks to a new partnership dubbed “Growing the Future”.
Developed by Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), 4-H Saskatchewan and Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), the project partners are working together to grow a canola crop with all proceeds split equally between 4-H and DUC.
On Saturday, Oct. 5, 4-H members from east central Saskatchewan helped harvest the crop and in doing so, they also learned that conservation is part of sustainable crop production.
Each partner provided a key component for the program’s success: DUC provides the land for growing the crop; FCL works with supply partners and local retail Co-ops to provide the crop inputs including seed, fertilizer, crop protection products, fuel and agronomic expertise; and 4-H provides the manpower and equipment to grow, harvest and deliver the crop.
“Although many of our members come from a farming background, this was an excellent hands-on opportunity for them to see the latest GPS and yield-monitoring technology in action,” said Lee Walerius, executive director of 4-H Saskatchewan in a prepared release.
“In addition, members learned how restored wetlands can fit in sustainable cropping systems,” she added.
“This project has been very rewarding because it not only raises funds for two worthy causes – it also demonstrates how agriculture and conservation are working together on the land,” said Trevor Plews, head of conservation programs for DUC in Saskatchewan in the same release. “This is an important part of what DUC is all about and we are fortunate to have such great partners who share the same values.”
Vic Huard, vice-president of corporate affairs for FCL, stressed the strength of the partnerships that make the program work. “We are thrilled to be involved in a program that aligns with our commitment to sustainable environmental practices, as well as our support for leadership development at the local level. We are excited to be working with our partners at DUC and the 4-H program in Canada and are hoping to expand the program to other communities where retail Co-ops have invested in the future.”
The Growing the Future partners would also like to thank their local supporters who helped this project along the way: Maple Farm Equipment, Yara Crop Nutrition, Bayer CropScience, Dave’s Custom Spraying, and the agronomy team at Yorkton Co-op.
It is fitting that the program is benefitting 4-H and DUC this year as the two organizations celebrate major milestones: DUC is marking their 75th Anniversary and 4-H is celebrating a century of youth programs in 2013.