A group of the key suppliers for the Farming for Health project gathered to talk about working together on the project and to present a cheque for the funds raised to Ross Fisher, Executive Director of The Health Foundation.
Mr. Fisher started the news conference by thanking everyone for attending. He then thanked everyone for all the work and support they provided the Farming for Health project.
The Health Foundation had talked about a farming project off and on for a couple of years, but hadn’t pursued it seriously. When discussions regarding a new hospital began to take place The Foundation started to think more seriously about growing a crop, with the proceeds going to the new hospital fund. When the City of Yorkton agreed to donate 700 acres of farmland around the city, that was the impetus to start seriously planning.
“The businesses and people here in this room are the people we had to talk to first, to see if they would participate, because they had to be onside or the project wouldn’t be able to go forward. We are here today because everyone here thought a new hospital was a good idea and said yes they would help,” said Mr. Fisher.
“I had been talking to Darryl Flunder with Louis Dreyfus Commodities, because I know Darryl and Louis Dreyfus is already a major supporter of The Health Foundation,” said Ross Fisher. Darryl had a conversation with Scott Park, an agrologist with Agri-Trend who agreed to do our soil testing and monitoring of the crop. Then we approached Boyd Ellis of Dow Agro Science, and Dow agreed to donate the Canola seed. Getting Dow to donate all of the seed was huge and really helped move us forward.”
“Then we approached Bruce Thurston with the Yorkton Co-op about donating the fuel that would be needed to seed, spray, swath and combine; and they agreed to donate the fuel. Next we approached Greg Soke at Canamera Carriers, who agreed to provide the trucking we would need.
Now we were prepared to talk to the four farm implement dealerships: Maple Farm Equipment; Yorkton New Holland, Rocky Mountain Equipment; and, White’s Ag. We had enough businesses on board at this point that if the farm implement dealerships agreed to participate the farming the project would be a go. They all agreed to participate.
There was still a lot to arrange, and many more businesses came on board to help and provide product like: chemical, fertilizer, signage and all the details that would make the Farming for Health project a huge success. But at this point, we were committed.
What was most remarkable was how everyone just understood this would be a good project for the region, and they were very prepared to do what they could to see it be a success. Everyone understood that we haven’t actually been approved for a new hospital yet, and what this project does is demonstrate to the government that we are ready to raise our share of the funds needed to build a new hospital. It also raises a lot of money that goes into the hospital fund.
“This is an extremely good year for farming,” said Darryl Flunder of Louis Dreyfus Commodities. Crop yield has been tremendous, and The Health Foundation averaged 40.5 bushels per acre. The Foundations’ crop was all Canola this year; it has all been combined and has been purchased by Louis Dreyfus Commodities. Revenue for the crop was $331,205.
The only reason so much money can be made by this kind of a farming project is because The Foundation had almost no costs. All of the suppliers who participated in the Farming for Health Project donated their time, product, services and knowledge to make this project a success.
‘It is humbling to see so many people and businesses come together so quickly around a good idea, and make sure it worked. Our farming partners made sure this project was a success, and The Health Foundation is very grateful for their support,” said Mr. Fisher.