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Let me save Christmas for you

Lee Hart offers up some early Christmas shopping suggestions to suit everyone

Do you have your Christmas shopping done yet? Come on people there are only 49 days left and for people of a certain age you know how fast days fly by. And have I got a couple good gift ideas for you.

I’m not usually an early Christmas shopper, but it was a “gift” I received in late October that got me thinking of gift giving and then Christmas came in my head. It was a pretty neat gift I received for another special occasion I don’t really want to dwell on too much — I’m still calling it a mid-60ish birthday — but along with a great dinner and cake my kids gave me one of those ancestry DNA testing kits. So I could learn about my heritage.

I’ve seen them advertised and I know of a few people who have them done. While the results may not be life changing, it is one of those fun things to do. The instructions look pretty straightforward. The only drawback is that I have to go a whole 30 minutes without food or drink before providing a quite generous saliva sample. They supply all materials in the kit and then you just mail it back in the box it came in. And then within six to eight weeks, barring postal disruption, I should have results back.

As far as I know at this point my heritage should be English and Irish, so we’ll see what the results bring.

And then there is Farm Forum

Another early Christmas present I can suggest might be a gift registration to the Farm Forum Conference in Calgary in early December.

It will be a pretty good early Christmas present for one Canadian farmer as the winner of the three-season long Canola 100 Challenge is announced at the Farm Forum conference, which runs December 4 to 6 at the Telus Convention Centre.

This contest that was thunk up by Rob Saik, founder and former CEO of Agri-Trend Agrology was launched in partnership with John Deere Canada and Glacier FarmMedia starting in the 2016 growing season. Open to all Canadian dryland canola growers the contest asked producers to register, and among those registered the first person to produce a third-party verified yield of 100 bushel of canola over a measured and continuous 50-acre field would win the grand Agri-Prize of 100 hours worth of use of a whole fleet of John Deere equipment. If you want to keep it once the 100 hours are up that will cost you about $15 million (I have no idea what machinery is worth, I just know new stuff isn’t cheap), but otherwise use it for 100 hours and send it back. I believe it is understood while the machinery is in your field they want you to drive it like you own it, not like you stole it — it is a pretty valuable prize.

No one hit the magic 100-bushel yield figure in the 2016 and 2017 growing seasons. Mike Nelson of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was the yield leader in 2016 with 81.43 bushels. Then Merle Klassen of Linden, Alta., was the leader in the 2017 growing season with an 85.88 bushel yield. And the drum roll is soon starting to see who has the highest (maybe even 100 bushel) yield during the 2018 season to be announced at the Farm Forum event. If no one produces a 100-bushel yield, the Agri-Prize will go to the producer with the highest verified yield over the three growing seasons. Someone is going to win.

But even if you are not among the registered Canola 100 Challenge farmers you can always plan to attend Farm Forum just for further enlightenment. There is a trade show, which is always popular, along with a great line up of speakers and presentations on agronomy, soil health and fertility, precision agriculture, markets, new equipment and on-farm storage. If you don’t go to Farm Forum are you really farming?

For more information on the conference and registration, visit the event website. (If you happen to mention my name at the registration table they will probably say “who?” so really that will be no help to you whatsoever).

Note: Glacier FarmMedia, which owns Grainews, has recently taken over the management of the annual Farm Forum event. 2018 will be the Forum’s 20th year.

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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