The Wheatland and Area Hospice Society organized for the harvesting of the crop planted in partnership with Nutrien on Sept. 29.
“We’ve entered into an agreement with Nutrien to plant a crop for proceeds which are for the Hospice Society. That allows us to have a very good fundraiser and good community involvement,” said Keith Clayton, board member with the Wheatland and Area Hospice Society.
“The agreement with Nutrien is key to it. Hopefully [we] continue to have the same relationship for a long time because it does work very well.”
The effort was supported by farmers local to the surrounding community. Each of the combines brought in to harvest the canola crop had been borrowed out.
This marks the second harvest that Nutrien and the Hospice Society have worked together. Clayton hopes to continue the relationship going forward.
“The community in the area is also supportive of it. We can get farmers in the area to come in and seed it and cultivate it, harrow it, swathe it, combine it, and it works out very well,” he said.
“The impact is, we can make some money to keep furthering our ability to make a hospice available in the Wheatland County area.”
Dinsmore Swan with Carseland Nutrien, added the field donated to the Wheatland and Area Hospice Society is a full quarter section, which represents 155 acres of land.
“It fits so well with Nutrien’s core values and our beliefs of supporting community. We were more than eager to be able to step in and form this partnership,” he said.
The project, similar to any farming operation, didn’t come without its own host of challenges. Swan explained both weather and mechanical failures had a noticeable impact throughout the season.
“Just like any farming operation, there’s never a shortage of challenges. Right at the beginning of the season, we went to move the irrigation pivot so that this piece of property could be seeded, and we had a mechanical failure.”
The pivot was out of operation for roughly six weeks, which Swan added, impacted the team’s ability to irrigate the crop.
“Given the climate conditions we experienced this year, that was a pretty tough start for any crop not to get watered,” said Swan.
“We did finally manage to get everything repaired and operational. Once we got the pivot repaired, our next issue was a leak in our distribution piping underground, which again caused a delay in us being able to get our water going.”
Nutrien has committed to the project for five years, of which this is the second. Swan added if there is a need for it once the initial agreement expires, it is something the company will “likely entertain and strongly endorse.”
Next year’s project, though guaranteed, may not be planted on the same plot of land, as Nutrien makes an effort to rotate crops and plantations annually.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times