By Laura Reiter
I am involved in one of the over 36,000 farms in Saskatchewan. Now if you are like most folks, a picture or two will have popped into your head when you hear “Saskatchewan farms”.
Or maybe this …
You’d be right in thinking that grain and cattle operations make up the majority of the farms in Saskatchewan. But there is so much more!
First off, that combine could be harvesting any one of a large number of crops that are grown in the province.
Wheat, barley, canola, flax and pulse (lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, faba and soybeans) crops are just a few examples .
And did you know there are potato farms in Saskatchewan? Of all the potato farms in Canada, 4.6 per cent are located in Saskatchewan.
There are also other kinds of fruits and vegetables grown right here in Saskatchewan. Apples, cherries, pears, plums, grapes and all kinds of berries can be found in Saskatchewan. You can find u-pick and pick-your-own farms all over the province. If you check out a farmer’s market or possibly look in your grocery store you can find locally grown produce.
The livestock industry in Saskatchewan is an important part of our economy. In 2012, Saskatchewan was home to 30 per cent of Canada’s beef herd. That’s the second largest herd in Canada!
Saskatchewan also has a dairy industry. And not only do we produce milk but we also process it into products like sour cream, cheese and ice cream. Yum!
We are Canada’s fifth largest producer of hogs.
Poultry production is also a part of Saskatchewan’s agriculture industry. In the Wynyard area (approximately 190 km east of Saskatoon), up to 500 people are employed at a processing plant. That’s a big industry for that community!
In 2013, there were more than 26.7 million dozen eggs produced in Saskatchewan. How do you like your eggs?
Now these may be the first types of livestock that pop into your head when you think about farming. But did you know Saskatchewan is home to all sorts of other types of livestock? These include sheep bison and horse farming.
Saskatchewan is home to over 10 per cent of Canada’s apiculture (bee) farms.
Agriculture is an important part of Saskatchewan’s economy. It accounts for over one-third of the province’s total exports and we have over 40 per cent of Canada’s farmland!
Everyone has a different picture in their head when they think of farming. Now, knowing that I am a Saskatchewan farmer, you may be picturing me as a 60-something-year-old man in overalls and a hat. Perhaps I should have started by introducing myself. My name is Laura and I’m proud to be a Saskatchewan farmer too.
Laura Reiter graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a B.Sc. in Agriculture, majoring in Crop Science and is a Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) with the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists. She operates the family grain farm in North West Saskatchewan with her husband, Jack, and brother, Bryan Clair. Laura sits is on the Boards of Directors with the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (SaskWheat) and Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan. Find Laura on Twitter @ReiterLJ