Health harvest carried out today

It was harvest day at the Farming for Health Project, a fundraising effort by The Health Foundation.

Foundation executive director Ross Fisher said this year, the seventh for the farming project, is harvesting about 380 acres of canola which was grown on City-owned land just south of Queen Street.

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“The first five years of the project funds went toward a new hospital,” he explained, adding after five years they had made $1 million through the yearly effort, which was put away from the hospital project whenever it is undertaken by the province.

In 2018 funds from the farming project were used to buy much need equipment to update the laboratory services at the Regional Health Centre in the city.

“It needed to upgrade some equipment,” said Fisher.

This year the Foundation is hoping the farming project will fund a new diagnostic ultrasound unit for the health centre, which would be used in cases of heart issues, cancer tumours and joint ailments, said Fisher.

The unit has a price tag of $200,000, but will cost more when provincial taxes are tacked on, said Fisher.

Still, depending on yields for the canola harvested they hope the crop return covers the overall cost.

Fisher said they will know later this week if the crop raised enough funds, and then once they have provincial approval, they would order the equipment this fall.

The equipment purchased in 2018, and proposed for this year, would be transferred to a new hospital once it is built.

Larry Hilworth, chair of the crop project said the whole undertaking from seeding through harvest is only possible because of the number of people who step up to help do the work as volunteers.

Monday combines from Pattison Agriculture, Rocky Mountain Equipment, Yorkton New Holland and Hilworth’s own machine were in the field, along with two grain carts and two semi units hauling the canola from the field to its market destination.

“We’re pretty fortunate to live in such a supportive community with such a spirit of giving,” said Hilworth, who added people and businesses have stepped up every year to supply seed, crop inputs, expertise and time to make the farming project the success it has been.

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