It has been a year of CHANGE, but change for the better in every aspect. Some of these changes include: getting married to my beautiful wife Brenda; switching over our farm to RTK GPS for better efficiencies as well as more accurate data collection; converting our old antiquated wheel-line irrigation to corner pivots for better energy efficiency and return $/acre; and a large capital investment in a brand new state-of-the art Soybean Seed handling facility, the first in the province of Alberta. The reason for the latter, you see, is that 8 years ago I started investigating soybeans as a viable crop for southern Alberta; I felt they could be a profitable alternative as they had many positive aspects to them- but we had to find out how to make them grow and produce out here for profitability. Along the way I have found many ways of how NOT to grow them. They say that “Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions”. I can attest to that. But my own personal saying also holds true, when thinking of a team of horses, such as the Budweiser Clydesdales. “If you aren’t the lead horse, the scenery never changes”. That personal mantra has kept me pushing on over the years, even when the doubters and skeptics told me repeatedly that “It’ll never work”. The soybean industry in Alberta has made remarkable progress over the past number of years as noted below.
- 2006 – Grew my first 6 acre plot of soybeans
- 2008 – Was able to break 40 bu/ ac using adapted techniques for our micro-climate
- 2013 – Alberta Pulse Commission officially recognizes soybeans as a viable crop for Alberta
- 2014 – Alberta Agriculture receives a $384,000.00 grant for a 4 year study on soybean agronomic production factors in Alberta
- 2014 – Alberta has enough volume of soybeans to warrant line companies to offer $1.25-$1.40/bu premium for AB soybeans over MB prices as they are already half way to the coast. Previous to this, AB producers were penalized $1.50/ bu as they were trucked to MB, then railed right past here to go to the coast.
- 2014 – Despite an early frost, many producers are now averaging 50+ bu/ ac on their fields.
- 2015 – Agricultural Financial Services Corporation recognizes soybeans as an emerging crop and offers basic all-risk insurance for the first time
- 2015 – Large commercial soybean crusher begins operation in southern Alberta
- 2016 – Fabian Seed Farms will using their new soybean handling facility for loading clients with treated and inoculated soybean genetics from various companies.
So, even though many times over the years I felt like giving up and going along with the rest of the crowd, believing that “They’ll never grow here”; looking back I am glad I never threw in the towel. Many accomplishments and milestones have been met and passed since then- even though it was less than a decade since I began my journey. I am proud to have had a hand in shaping that progress. I am pleased to say I have made many friends from being soybean clients and I truly look forward with passion to what the next decade holds in store for this amazing crop in southern Alberta!