Canadians are notorious for talking about the weather. We can’t help it. Either it’s freaking cold, or bone dry, or blowing a blizzard. We especially can’t help it if we’re farmers and our very livelihood depends on it. No wonder the weather is tops for Canadian farmer’s wish list for 2012.
“I wish we would have got a good soaking in the fall because it’s bone dry where I live,” Peter Zingre tells me from Cecil Lake, B. C. He produces cattle and grain in the Peace River area, which is at the north end of Canada’s arable land. “We’ve had hardly any snow”, he says. “Up here if you don’t get snow you don’t get a good start.” Spring runoff from snow is important to fill the dugouts so there is water for the cattle. It’s important for good spring moisture to get the crop off to a good start. I wish Peter and all his fellow farmers up there some good heavy snowfalls yet this winter!
“A good growing season is highest on my wish list,” says Johann von Rennenkampf, a grain farmer from Pickardville, Alberta. “In our situation, the weather has the biggest impact on the farm. Second is stable prices and economy. If I have these two and my health, I’m happy!”
Paul deChamplain is a 28 year old grain farmer from east of Westlock, Alberta. “Having the weather on our side is always something I am praying for,” he says. “I hope all the farmers across Canada receive good weather for the up and coming crop year, which is sure to be exciting.”
Loren Koch of Westlock can already cross one item off his list: “I think my biggest wish has already been granted- the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) is voluntary for 2012!” Up until this recent ruling the CWB had the monopoly on all sales of wheat and barley for human consumption.
DeChamplain is also happy about the new voluntary CWB. “I am looking forward to having the freedom to sell wheat and barley directly to the elevator or end user,” he says. “I have nothing against the wheat board but having that choice to sell to anybody is going to be exciting.”
Most Canadian grain and cattle farmers are pretty happy about prices right now. Their wish for the coming year is that things can stay that way. “As a young grain farmer, I truly am looking forward to the new crop year and believe that grain prices are going to remain strong and get stronger into the new year,” says deChamplain.
Zingre is a little more concerned. “Prices are unstable because of the European debt crisis. Every time there is new news prices go up or down.”I’ll close with a few lines from Loren Koch. “It seems that so far in my farming career most of my wishes have already come true! We Are truly Blessed! My uncle and aunt were here with us Christmas day.Uncle Willard said: ‘this year is like a Grand Slam in baseball for farmers in the Three Hills area: real good yields, real good quality, real good prices’. Our crops were also way better than expected! Crop prices are good! Beef cattle look like they have finally turned the corner as well! For a farmer what more can you possibly wish for? Health, Happiness, Gratefulness? One more would be: to be a better steward of ALL the things God has entrusted to me, farm, family and the people I have influence on!”
So those are the thoughts of a few of my Canadian farm friends. Next week we’ll close this little series with the wish list of my Zambian friends.
If any readers have their own thoughts, I might put together a fourth blog with a wish list from blog readers!