What Is The Deal With Women in Agriculture? 

I was recently following a couple fairly active conversations in a group I am a member of, that focused on biases against Women working in Agriculture. I just couldn’t get on board with thinking about how bad it is – because I kept going back to thinking how much better it has become. At that time I already had a draft of this post done, and I have revised it a few times as I roll this situation around in my head. I am by no means making light of the struggles many women in the industry have gone through. I only want us to focus on the pride we should all take for our part in shaping the current landscape of acceptance. 

So here is the draft I decided to publish. Quite honestly I don’t love it. But my goal was to talk about Connect sometime this fall and being in the middle of harvest my blogging time is minimal for some reason! I can only speak from my own experience, so please let me know what your thoughts are on this subject. 

With the leaves turning color and the dust flying, harvest in Saskatchewan is in full swing.  Now that the season is upon us I can’t help but reminisce about Tiffany Martinka and the hashtag she started last year with women of harvest 15 (#womenofharvest15).  It coincided with a blog post I wrote titled ‘What Do You Do For a Living?’ that focused on convincing women to be proud to say they are a farmer. They were both included in a buzzfeed article titled; These Bad Ass Women Are Taking Selfies To Show How They Harvest Like a Boss. Contrary to how it may have come across to some people, neither of these things were an attempt to pat ourselves on the back. What they were, was a honest and heartfelt effort to bring awareness to some issues within the agriculture industry. 

One of the issues many of us are trying to address is women underplaying the roles that they fill in agriculture, or the knowledge that they have. I know women that handle the finances, women that seed the crop, women that spray the pesticides, women that pull the calves, women that fix the machinery, women that work as grain buyers, in seed sales, and as agronomists. For me its not about feminism or sexism, it’s simply about pride. When I was pregnant with my first child my Step-Mother politely told me that I didn’t have to put ‘farming’ on the occupation line of my patient profile at the doctors office, and that I could put ‘self employed’ instead. Ladies, we should be proud of the roles we play and the contributions we make to agriculture in Canada. The industry needs us. Do not be afraid to show your confidence at work or to stand up and say ‘I am a farmer’.  

As an industry I think we should celebrate how far we have come in acceptance of women. Most people don’t even blink when they see a female doing a job that used to be typically identified as a man’s. It honestly feels to me that agriculture as a whole is starting to understand that gender has no place in the conversation and women are encouraged as much as men. I found myself relating the situation to what Will Smith said in an interview with Steven Colbert a few weeks ago. When asked about racisim in the US he said (I’m paraphrasing here) I’m not going to get caught in the trap of talking about how bad it is because it’s not. It’s not as bad as it was 20 years ago and it’s certainly not as bad as it was 60 years ago. It’s by no means perfect, but maybe more acceptance will result if we focus on how far we have come. Years ago when I first got involved in my husbands family farm a women’s opinion was new, and definately out of the ordinary on this operation. I really struggled to find resources to help me learn more about the business and I felt very alone in my quest. These types of challenges certainly still exist but today we have many great resources to help such as FarmHer which shines a light on women in Ag through positive stories, imagery and now a TV series, or industry groups taking initiatives like this one (The Women of Real Pig Farming). There are also various Facebook groups that work to connect and encourage women in the industry: Ag Womens Network and  Women In Ag or Saskatchewan Women In Ag and any Tuesday you can join in a Twitter chat called #AgChat to connect and learn from other farmers across the world. Don’t let a preconceived notion or someone else’s negative experience keep you away, if you are looking for a job to be passionate about agriculture is the ticket and if you are looking for support there are lots of us here. 

My memory says that I communicated these ideas a bit more eloquently in last years post, but my website crashed shortly after and that particular blog was lost so I can’t be sure (my memory has been known to fail me before). Regardless, my original inspiration to write it was to help promote a new event called ‘Connect: Women in Agriculture’. The first of its kind (in my corner of the world), this event focuses on bringing the different  women involved in agriculture together for a two day conference and promises to be jam packed with learning, networking, and fun. The second annual event will be held on Nov 2 & 3 in Saskatoon, SK and I highly recommend you go if you are a women involved in the agriculture industry at any level. Let’s connect and support each other! See this link for more information. There is also a Canadian conference called Advancing Women in Agriculture held in 2 locations. You can learn more about these events here. (Catch up on what you missed by following #AWCeast2016 and #AWNchat) 

So I guess I’ll leave this post by saying what you should already know. Things have changed. Farmers don’t wear overalls and hold pitchforks anymore, sometimes they wear Silver jeans and lip gloss. You don’t have to list ‘farm wife’ on the occupation line at the doctors office and you can get that Ag degree and be kick ass at your job after you graduate. In my opinion, there has never been a better time to be a woman and to be involved in agriculture! 

Happy Harvest to all the men and #womenofharvest16  

Categories: Agvocacy, Ask a Farmer, Family Farming, FarmHer, Farming, Harvest 2016, Jobs in agriculture, Love Sask Food, Saskatchewan, Uncategorized, Women in Ag | 2 Comments

A Better Backyard BBQ with Bison. 

Ok, let’s be honest. It isn’t better. I do not believe in tearing down one area of our diverse, plentiful and exceptionally safe food supply in order to promote another. Canadian raised beef, pork, turkey, chicken and specialty meats such as lamb or bison are among the highest quality in the world. “Recognized around the world as one of the best, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency federal inspection system has allowed Canada to export meat to over 150 countries. Canadians should be proud of this reputation, and the Canadian Meat Council is committed to working with the CFIA on continuous improvement to maintain our international and domestic reputations.”

I do have a soft spot for bison meat though. When I was growing up my aunt and uncle (Marie and Jack Evans of Clair Side Bison) always made sure we had a steady supply of this heart healthy protein in our diet. We now raise our own animals and I am doing the same for my family.

What is Bison?

Original settlers of the American West called North American bison “buffalo,” because they were reminiscent to Asian and African buffalo. Although it is a misnomer, the name buffalo is still commonly used today.  I personally have had consumers question me when I say that we raise buffalo, because they have never heard of this animal.  The correct term is bison and in Canada meat is correctly labeled as “bison,” so consumers know they are buying this specific North American product.

A Brief History 

As settlers moved into the center of the continent looking for land to farm, and towns to build, the natural home of both the native people and bison diminished. Historical accounts suggest there were 60 million bison in 1800. By 1899 there were less than 1000 bison left.

In 2005, it was estimated that there were over 500,000 bison on farms and ranches in North America and in Canada we have almost 2000 bison producers who own over 250,000 bison. Because of consumer demand and the initiatives of farmers and ranchers the population of this almost extinct animal continues to grow – a conservation success story.

Why Choose Bison?

Because bison move constantly, grazing specific areas intensely for short periods, they actually enhance biodiversity. Each year a bison cow and her calf require an average of four to sixteen hectares of grazing land depending on the weather and range conditions in any particular neighborhood. As bison move across the land, they create good locations for the seeds of new prairie plants to germinate. The result is a varied grassland that hosts butterflies, pollinating insects, and nesting birds.

The bison’s healthy diet, along with their stress-free lifestyle, results in a lean protein and nutrient packed meat. Bison meat is a flavourful, tender and a lower fat red meat alternative. Similar to fine beef but slightly sweeter and richer in taste, it is often described as a meat with a rich flavour satisfying you more while eating less. Studies have shown that the meat from Bison is a highly nutrient dense food because of the proportion of protein, fat, mineral, and fatty acids to its caloric value. 

Comparisons to other meat sources have also shown that Bison has a greater concentration of iron as well as some of the essential fatty acids necessary for human well being. Readers’ Digest magazine has even listed bison as one of the five foods women should eat because of the high iron content. When I first looked into the nutrient comparisons between bison and other meats I was shocked that a red meat could have considerably less fat than chicken, less calories than salmon, one of the lowest amounts of cholesterol while still having very high amounts of iron and vitamins.  With it’s wonderful rich taste and it’s significant nutritional performance, bison meat has often been referred to as the meat of the future.  It is most definitely the meat of the ‘present’ in my kitchen.

I am aware that a post like this should probably include a wonderful recipe using bison meat and beautiful picture of it. Sadly I have found out that I do not have a talent for food photography (I am actually really bad at it so you will have to settle for enjoying the stock photos below).  I am going to leave this post by saying, just use it in any beef recipe (that’s what I do).  Our family favorites include a good bison rib-eye steak cooked over an open fire, or sweet and sour bison meatballs served with white rice.  The secret is a lower temp and a longer cooking time (slow and low) especially for steaks or roasts.  Because of the lower fat content, prepared bison is always a little redder in color than beef, so don’t be fooled when cooking a steak! 

Thanks for reading!  Stop in and check out my sources for more info:





Categories: Agvocacy, Ask a Farmer, canadian beef, Canadian Meat Council, Family Farming, Farming, Love Sask Food, Saskatchewan Beef, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Did Someone Say ‘Long Weekend’? Not for these Farm Kids. 

Members of the Kelvington 4H Grain club are learning all to soon that at certain times of the year, holidays and long weekends don’t mean much to a farmer. Seasonal work doesn’t wait so holidays have to. Often farmers schedules offer them alternative times to celebrate or relax, like during the winter. But these sort of self regulated holidays don’t work very well when you are a student and a school division sets your schedule. Which is even more reason to be impressed that some of our club members gave up their day off at home to go to another school and learn!

This years field trip for our club may sound a little boring, but it was packed full of new experiences and information that directly applied to what we are learning about in a 4H Grain Club. Early on in the year I set out on a mission to find someone that would address the issue of the importance of biotechnology and plant genetics in modern day agriculture (after some great tour suggestions by the parents in our club). If you follow my writing at all you will know how I feel about farmers educating ourselves so we have the ability to answer tough questions and can help educate consumers. Who better to learn about this topic from than some university professors or research heads! The problem was, these people have actual jobs that keep them very busy and most 13-16 year olds aren’t interested in doing lab tours. This was definitely a new request for many of the people I contacted. To say I had a little trouble getting people to respond to our bright ‘4H club tour’ idea, would be a bit of an understatement.

Just as I was ready to give up and started discussing alternate tour options with the club leaders, a lone person responded to my requests. Dr. Martin Erlandson (research scientist – microbiology, insect virology) of Ag Canada answered the phone one day and offered to see what he could do to help us out. I’m not sure what hoops he and the administration had to jump through but they got us in and did a great job showing our club the work that is done at the Agriculture and AgriFood Canada Saskatoon Research Centre. The North East 4H office (thanks Jodi Schellenberg) helped me get in touch with Alicia Wehrkamp at the University and with her assistance we had a full day of learning on the U of S campus!

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Categories: 4H, Agvocacy, Ask a Farmer, Community, Family Farming, Farming, Saskatchewan, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Food Freedom Day!


The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) has calculated that in 2016 Canada’s food freedom day will be February 9. This is the day that the average Canadian will have earned enough money to pay for his or her grocery bill for the entire year. In 2015 that boiled down to 11% of disposable income spent on food (note: that’s only DISPOSABLE income). This means in Canada we have a lot more available money to spend on things like housing, education and recreation (fun things like a family holiday or sporting events). Lucky us!


We should celebrate having such an early food freedom day, but celebrate with caution. Our FFD has fallen back a few days this year due to the rising cost of food. A low dollar means higher prices on imports, and Canada imports a lot of produce. Prices are forecasted to continue to rise in the coming months. If this worries you, just keep in mind how lucky Canada is in comparison to other countries. As a mother it is exciting to have a choice between 7 different kinds of milk at the grocery store, but what I think is even better is that every day more and more mothers in poverty stricken countries are able to wake up knowing their children won’t starve to death. Biotechnology and agriculture are helping in this area and have the ability to balance out economic and food inequalities around the world, if we allow it. So lets look at how lucky Canadians actually are compared to the rest of the world:

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Categories: Agvocacy, Ask a Farmer, Family Farming, Farming, GMOs, Saskatchewan, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

History of Hockey in Wadena Part 4


Written by Wayne Lazar

Assisted by Angela Jones


Joey Leach with the South Carolina Stingrays. Joey has played on a number of teams since 2007 including Kootenay Ice, Okahoma City Barons, Fort Wayne Komets, Bakersfield Condors, and drafted to the Calgary Flames in 2010.

Wadena Wildcats and Beyond

 (most information is from memory so please forgive us if something or someone has been missed – log in and leave the correction in the comments so we can keep the information accurate. These are simply some highlights that Wadena can be proud of, from the residents that were part of our hockey program.  We are aware that not every stop for every player is listed, we focused on the levels that were being showcased this weekend at our rink)

Wadena has been a windfall for scouts of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) and Saskatchewan midget AAA hockey.

The upcoming Cameco Hockey Day in Saskatchewan – which will feature SJHL and midget AAA games – is sure to bring back memories for many former Wadena players. Lyle Leach and Tom Rudy have both SJHL championships, and a Canadian Centennial Cup championships with the Weyburn Red Wings in 1984.  Although I (Angela) am having a hard time getting details, another veteran player; Mr. Hockey (also known as Wayne Lazar) played for the Yorkton Terriers, Moose Jaw Kanucks and the Weyburn Redwings holding the record as the top scorer there for years and Shaun Berezuik played both Junior B and SJHL levels of hockey. In 1991, Aaron Cain won an SJHL championship with the Flin Flon Bombers. Ian Lazar and Travis Statchuk were part of Saskatchewan midget AAA championships in 2006 and 2007, respectively, and Canadian Telus Cup championships in the same years. Michael Statchuk also won a Saskatchewan midget AAA championship in 2011. Travis Statchuk went on to play at the NCAA level with the Ohio Bukeyes for four years. In the spring of 2015 the SJHL held its first Bantam draft where around 70, 15 year olds are selected amongst the 12 SJHL teams. Tyson Byman was one of 6 players selected by Battleford North Stars. Tyson is currently playing AA Midget in Melville and hopes to be playing AAA midget this fall.  Shain Scheschuk has played at many levels as well starting at peewee AA with Tisdale.  His hockey journey has taken him to a  peewee provincial B championship in 2003-2004, and another one with Tisdale in 2004-2005, through to playing the 2010-2011 season with Assiniboia Southern Rebels, and then on to the Weyburn Red Wings from 2011-2014. Another local, Joey Leach, is playing pro with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays and has recently been called up to the American League with the Hershey Bears. Both teams are affiliated with the Washington Capitals.

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Categories: Community, Hockey, Saskatchewan, travel Canada, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

History of Hockey in Wadena Part 3


By Angela Jones
Information from ‘Remembering Times Wadena and Area dating back to 1882’ history book.
All quotes taken from Remembering Times

Minor Hockey in Wadena

The relationship between the local Kinsmen Club and Wadena Minor Sports has always been strong. In the early years, minor hockey depended upon whomever stepped up to organize the games – and the weather. Games were played only in February or March because travel was difficult and it was too cold for the young players during other times of the year. Then, as now, local volunteers joined together to address and serve the communities greatest needs under the name of the Kinsmen. Organized hockey began in 1947 when the local Kinsmen took over sponsorship. They set up four local teams: the Leafs, Rangers, Bruins and Blackhawks. The Kinsmen provided the coaching, refereeing and things such as goalie equipment. They also organized out-of-town games, provided transportation and numerous other things to help make hockey accessible to a greater number of kids. In 1963, after the new recreation centre was built, a playing coach was hired by the Wildcats under the arrangement that he would run the minor hockey program. The Kinsmen supported this position by contributing to his salary. Larry Barabonoff held this position until 1967. When he left, Gary McPeak and Dwight Magnuson took over. In 1969, Ken Maxwell was hired as a coach of the Wildcats, part-time rec director and head of the minor sports program.


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Categories: Community, Hockey, Saskatchewan, travel Canada, Uncategorized, Volunteering | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

History of Hockey in Wadena Part 2


History of Hockey in Wadena
Part 2
By Angela Jones
Information from ‘Remembering Times Wadena and Area dating back to 1882’ history book.
quotes taken from Remembering Times
By Jim Headington
Additional Information supplied by: Darin Faubert and the July 28th 1999 edition of the Wadena News

Wadena Hockey Throughout the Years

Pictures dating back as far as the early 1900s and game summaries in the local papers of that time show that hockey was part of Wadena’s history right from the earliest days.

In an era where free time was minimal compared to today, the citizens of Wadena remarkably found the time and money in 1910 to construct an indoor rink where the town hall now stands (pictured above). Regrettably, this structure burnt down in 1912 and would not be rebuilt until 1935. Even then it would be ahead of its time, being the only covered rink on the line between Humboldt and Kamsack. A simple fire could not stop hockey in this town; it continued on an outdoor rink for the years that the town had no other facility. Many different age groups enjoyed the sport during this time. Ladies hockey was strong then as now, with a 1912 edition of the local paper reporting that the group looked like a “fast bunch.” The 2015-16 season marks six years since a local ladies team, known as The Felines, was resurrected.

Before World War I, hockey was an important part of Wadena’s social life. Hockey games were much anticipated events and often drew large crowds. In 1912, a heated rivalry was born between Wadena and Humboldt. Results of the games were largely disputed and likely were the talk of the town for the season. The first game of the playoffs was held in Humboldt and Wadena lost 3-1. The local paper stated that because of poor officiating “outside referees will be engaged for the remaining games.” The 100 fans who traveled by train with the Humboldt team to Wadena for Game 2 might have been intimidating, but their presence didn’t make a difference because Wadena won the game 3-2. The paper reported that Wadena won Game 3 in Humboldt with the same score and “we are pleased to say, with all local players.” By the sounds of the paper’s write-up, Humboldt added a few players from Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw and even ‘let’ their manager referee the final game. Even years ago, hockey was not without controversy. The write-up did praise the opposing team’s players for their talents and condemned any locals that performed or behaved badly.

After the war, there was a renewed interest in hockey with many young men returning home. In the fall of 1946, organizers met at Ottman Meats and chose to honor the legendary 214th Battalion by naming the local hockey team the Wadena Wildcats.

Those first Wildcat teams set the bar high for all the teams that followed. According the Wes Ottman, the 1949 team won 30 of their 33 games, tying two and losing only one. During the same era, Wadena played Wynyard in a memorable 1951 series which was chronicled in the local history book. Wynyard had to cancel a tournament because of a storm and invited the Wildcats for a later game instead. Wynyard agreed to not use imports for the game. Wadena ended up winning 10-7 and Wynyard was not happy with this outcome, eventually talking Wadena into coming back for a second game. The winner was to take all the profits from the gate at the second game and Wynyard could use its imports. There was a lot of pride on that 1951 Wildcat team and they were not going to back down from a challenge. As luck would have it, the Moose Jaw Canucks lost out in the SJHL playoffs the night prior to the big game so Wadena got an import of its own in the form of David Rusnell, and another in Ted Everitt who had formerly played with the Regina Pats. The story ends with 45 seconds left in the game as Rusnell picked up a loose puck at his own blue line and skated in for a goal to give Wadena a 3-2 win in front of a packed Wynyard arena.

The team bounced around from second-place finishes to last-place finishes in the years from 1952 to 1971. The rink facilities were lacking and some years the Wildcats struggled to form a team. Shortly after a new rink was built, the 1971-72 season marked the start of a decade in which Wadena would dominate the Fishing Lake Hockey League (FLHL). The 1972 final was a testament not only to the talent on the Wildcats but also to the level of hockey being played in the FLHL. Fans regularly packed the rink, coming from as far away as Yorkton and Kamsack. The Wildcats defeated the Wheat Kings in the fifth game of the semi-finals and pulled off a Game 7 win against the Quill Lake Monarchs to win their first FLHL championship. They added five more titles before the end of the decade (1973, ’74, ’77, ’78 and ’79). The Wadena Recreation Centre was filled to capacity again in 1979 when the Wildcats progressed to the Intermediate B provincial final, defeating Hudson Bay, Humboldt, Nipawin and Unity to win the northern Saskatchewan title.

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Categories: Community, Hockey, Saskatchewan, travel Canada, Uncategorized, Volunteering | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

The History of Hockey in Wadena Series

The following series of stories are a compilation of memories that have been shared by various people over the years. These memories are not captured in a form that can be found in the manner my generation has become accustomed to, with a simple click of a mouse, but rather in the few faded copies of the paper in a back room of the Wadena News or in the history books collecting dust high on the shelf in a neighbor’s basement. Although a few people in town recall these stories like they were yesterday, there are those that do not – and a very real danger looms for the rich hockey history of this town to slowly fade. I have found endless enjoyment in my quest to promote the Cameco Hockey Day in Saskatchewan by researching the history of the Wildcats, and have stumbled upon many tales that I have not heard before. When you are skimming over 100 years of history in a few short stories it is impossible to include everything or everyone. Although I struggled with choosing what to share and what to edit out, I attempted to include the content that will remind the residents of Wadena why our children should be proud to wear a Wildcat on their jersey, play in our facility, and represent the Town of Wadena. I hope that you will follow along for the next few weeks and enjoy reading as much as I did writing!

– Angela Jones


History of Hockey in Wadena Part 1

Written by Angela Jones
Information from ‘Remembering Times Wadena and Area dating back to 1882’ history book.

The symbol of hockey in Wadena, the Wildcat, is named in honour of the 214th Battalion – a group of men from the area who served proudly in the First World War. The history of this group and its members have a special place in the memories of Wadena residents for a variety of reasons. Here is a small excerpt of our town’s part in this story.

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Categories: Community, Hockey, Saskatchewan, travel Canada, Uncategorized, Volunteering | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

We interrupt your regular programming for this very important message…..


If you are in the agriculture industry, or are from a small town, this will be nothing new. But for those of you that aren’t, I feel I need to explain just how much rural life revolves around community and volunteering.

In the small towns that farmers often call their ‘homes’ people have a large sense of pride in their surroundings. Many places have skating rinks, community halls, or curling rinks that were built with the blood, sweat and tears of friends and family a generation ago. It sometimes doesn’t even matter if there is running water! If your parents or grandparents spent 10 years fundraising and helping to build that certain hall, then you are going to be proud of it and use it. Truth be known, a good portion of our towns are built on the backs of those giving of their own time, energy and money. We would not be able to enjoy what we have today without the sacrifice and hard work of those who came before us.

The tradition continues today with farm wives often using the flexibility of their seasonal schedules to help with various volunteering jobs or fundraising committees. Likewise, you will often find the farm men on fair boards, volunteering farm equipment to help build new playgrounds or things like demo derby tracks. Nothing happens in a small town without volunteers. From the local dance executive to the managers of the local hockey teams. Everyone puts in their time somewhere. When they have the time, farmers enjoy helping out right alongside their non farming friends.

This farm wife is no different than the rest and I have found myself in the middle of a fundraiser for our recreation center this winter. Contrary to how this post may come across, I am not writing this to sing my own praises (because a sad song it would be) but rather as a warning to my agriculture friends. Things are slow on the farm and my blogging is taking a different turn for the next month. I will be posting a series of stories outlining the history of hockey in my small little town of Wadena. I understand if you want to steer clear until February when my blog is back on topic, but I hope you will follow along, because it is turning out to be an interesting tale!

So here is to all those who came before me and made it possible for my children to grow up in a place that has a state of the art curling rink, new town hall, a great recreation center, a swimming pool, two new or fully renovated schools, a track field, new play ground, shale ball diamonds, along with many other things. Thank you for your hard work.


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Churchill 2015




photo credit; Kea Narfason


In the past I have tried to keep my posts mostly focused on agriculture. A lot of the people who pop in to visit my page are involved in the industry and probably aren’t interested in family vacation photos and the like. This post is going to be a bit of an exception but hang in through the whole thing, I’ll get to the farming stuff eventually. I promise!


I recently returned from a trip to Churchill, MB with the Wadena Composite School. The principal, Darin Faubert, does a fabulous job of organizing trips around Canada for the students to learn about this wonderful country we live in. My son Brayden was so excited about this one that I decided I better sign us up to go even though I knew it might be nip and tuck to finish harvest in time. The children were excited to see the polar bears and learn about the history of this northern community. Some of us farming parents were just as excited to see The Hudson Bay Port! But more on that later…….

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