Farming in Manitoba
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Farming in Manitoba

– [Voiceover] Manitoba has
some of the most fertile soil in the world, but
farmers still have to be attentive to their crops. They work long hours during
the limited growing season with hopes of a great harvest. Here is a segment
from Prairie Public’s documentary series,
“Built on Agriculture”. (peaceful guitar music) – 10,000 years ago, we would
have been at the bottom of old lake Agassiz, and
that’s really sort of the base on which our soils in the
Red River Valley have formed. We’re living and
working and farming on old lake bottom sediments,
sediments that are really rich in
clay, and these have lots and lot of nutrients,
they can hold lots and lots of water, but man they can be
difficult sometimes because water doesn’t flow
through them very easily, they’re very sticky
when they’re wet, but very productive
fertile soils. – I am Jim Janzen and we’re in Saint Francis Xavier, Manitoba. We operate Windy Creek Farms,
it’s a family farm operation. We are growing canola, red
spring wheat, and soy beans. Here in Manitoba we have
a very short window. Our 110 to 120 day
growing season. You gotta return a lot of
the money back into the farm. Be careful on how much
you take out personally. You have to be satisfied at
sometimes with not very much, and after you’ve
lost money per acre, it takes a while
to get that back. The crop that we have
this year is quite timely. After two tough
years, a third one would not have worked
very well for us. There’s nobody that has
control over the markets. There are factors
throughout the world that affect everything
that we grow is affected by
worldwide circumstances. So, I mean I find it
interesting and challenging. Am I the world’s
greatest marketer? No. Is it a game? You
might think it is. (upbeat guitar music) People say if
you’re not growing, you’re not moving forward. We’ve come to a point in
our operation, we’ve stayed around the 64 hundred acres
for the last 12 plus years. We’re comfortable at that
level, and instead of expanding I would like to do a
better job on those acres. Definitely farming
is a business. There’s just too
much money involved. There is a lifestyle, nobody
tells me when to get up in the morning or when to
punch in or when to quit. That’s up to me, and if
you can’t deal with that, if you need some supervision,
it’s probably not gonna work. It’s not for everybody,
but the field is open. You can always buy
a farm somewhere. – Farmers by nature, by
their existence, they risk. I’ve yet to meet a
farmer that fails to understand what
risk is all about. Anybody that invests
a lot of money and throws all of the products
that they buy onto the soil with the great hope
of reaping something from that, is a risk taker. Farmers minimize their
risk through knowledge and through active
testing, on their own. – There’s an old saying
in risk management, if you don’t manage your risks, they can very well
end up managing you. It’s a leap of faith to go
into business on your own, and farming is absolutely that. There are a lot of moving
parts in developing an appropriate crop in an
appropriate way without having an impact on the environment
or your land base. Every year is an unknown. – I’m Cam Henry. You’re
in Oak River, Manitoba, which is on the western
side of Province and a little bit
north of Trans-Canada. I’m a farmer and in the
farming context, we’re in the seed business, so we
grow, process, and retail seed. We’re what you call in Manitoba
a “Century Farm”, so we go back to the early 1880’s. So my grandfather was here
first, my dad, myself, and now my daughter and son-in-law
are farming with us. When I was young I
started in terrible times, I started in late 60’s. It was terrible times, you
weren’t making any money at all, and yet I saw nothing
but opportunity. And now, we’re in
very good times and when I’m looking around, I’m looking for
the pitfalls, eh. Just as you get older you get
a little more conservative, and you don’t have as
much time to catch up if you make a major mistake. In agriculture as the more acres
you apply to green farming, the cost per acre to seed them
of input cost is the same. So much fertilizer per acre,
so much spray, so much seed, those things are the same,
whether you got 100 acres or 1,000 acres or 10,000 acres. So you do put a lot of
money out there at risk if the world turns against you. And the one thing that
farming does have is you have to be
willing to take risk. The biggest factor that affects
how well my farm produces is the weather, and
I can’t control it. That’s a tough game to be in if the biggest influencing
factor, you can’t control. – [Voiceover] Prairie
Mosaic is funded by the Minnesota Arts and
Cultural Heritage Fund, with money from the vote
of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008, The North
Dakota Council on the Arts, and by the members
of Prairie Public.


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