Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we growing wheat, corn or soybeans when the people we are helping need rice, lentils or other local foods?

We don't send the grain overseas. When the Foodgrains Bank started in western Canada in the '70s, farmers actually donated grain to be shipped overseas for world relief. This became very costly and did not meet the dietary needs of recipients. More recently we sell the crops from our Canadian growing projects to finance the purchase of food and supplies in local areas to meet local needs for disaster relief and development work. The Foodgrains Bank always tries to do this in a way that does not disrupt markets for local farmers.

So if we are just sending money, then why bother with growing projects at all? Why not just donate the cash?

We can almost always have better returns by using our donations to pay for the expenses of growing a crop and selling the crop, than by just donating the money. Even a small return after expenses becomes much larger when the funds are matched by the Government of Canada. BUT THERE ARE MANY OTHER REASONS TO HAVE GROWING PROJECTS. They create a sense of community when local groups sponsor harvest celebrations and other fundraising events. Local businesses support the projects by donating seeds and other supplies to reduce the cost of growing the crop. And growing projects provide an opportunity for urban churches and other groups to get involved and interact with the rural community. WE ARE ALL CONNECTED!

Why were we growing winter wheat (2018) and what is it used for?

We need to grow a variety of crops to control diseases and promote good soil management on our farm. We follow a three year rotation of corn, soybeans and wheat. Winter wheat is a perennial grass, much like your lawn, so it is planted in the fall and overwinters in a dormant stage. It is harvested in July or August in the following year.

 

There are different kinds of winter wheat with many different end uses. The most common uses are bread flour, cake and pastry flour, and animal feed. An average yield on our farm would be 90 bushels or 2.5 tonnes per acre.  If used to make whole wheat bread, this acre would produce enough flour for 6,000 to 7,000 loaves of bread!

How is our 2016 corn crop doing?

Our corn was planted on May 18 and since the we have had one of the driest spring seasons on record. As I write this on July 20 there is still no sign of significant rain in the forecast. We have never had a complete crop failure on our farm so we still have hope that timely rains will produce at least an average crop. Canadian farmers would not typically be short of food if they have a poor crop, unlike those in developing countries where a drought can bring disastrous food shortages. We need to count our blessings! And we need to support the work of our CFGB conservation agriculture projects that are teaching smallholder farmers to cope with drought due to climate change.

What kind of corn are we growing and what is it used for?

Our crop is commercial field corn, not sweet corn which we eat fresh. The main uses are for livestock and poultry feed, ethanol for fuel, and a wide variety of industrial products. Food products such as starch, cereal foods, and corn syrup are also made from certain varieties of field corn.

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