Rural Sask Heart Beat: October is Agriculture Month


Gilles Laberge

October is Agriculture Month in Saskatchewan. Agriculture plays a tremendously important part of the Saskatchewan economy. This column will showcase agriculture history, agriculture-related products grown and produced in the province and agriculture advocates/support for farmers.

Agriculture History

W.R. Motherwell


William Richard Motherwell was born in Ontario on January 6th, 1860 and arrived as one of the settlers in the Abernethy area of Saskatchewan in 1882. He was appointed the first provincial Agriculture Minister after Saskatchewan became a province in 1905 (Served from 1906 to 1917) and he co-founded the University of Saskatchewan's College of Agriculture in 1909. He eventually resigned from his cabinet post in 1917 and resigned his seat in the following year. Motherwell ran successfully for federal politics in 1921 and served as the federal Agriculture Minister until 1930. Motherwell retired from politics in 1939 and passed away in 1943. His life was devoted to Saskatchewan and to agriculture. The Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site devoted to his honour is on Highway #22 in Abernethy

Saskatchewan Crop Report

The Saskatchewan Crop Report has been running since 1974. The 210 Crop Reporters across the province answer a weekly 15-minute survey, from April to October, and submit it by phone, fax or online. The details they cover include moisture levels, how far along the crops are, how much has been combined and whether or not there are any pests or anything else that's harmed the crops during the week. Staff in Moose Jaw compile the weekly report, based solely on what information the volunteers provide.

We often publish the Crop Report right here on MJ Independent.

Agriculture Products

Canola is the 2nd largest crop grown in Saskatchewan, as is apparent if you’ve ever gone for a nice country drive an seen the endless yellow fields. Saskatchewan is also the world's leading exporter of flax. The agriculture industry accounts for more than 50,000 jobs across the province. Here is a fascinating stat: 98% of Saskatchewan farms are family owned. Information for this came from

Zak Organics Food Co Ltd.


Marilyn and Allen Zak are the founders of Zak Organics Food Co Ltd. They grow peas on their farm at Fir Mountain, and the processing of the peas into other products takes place in Moose Jaw. They make a variety of flavoured snacks with their peas including Smoky BBQ Crunchy Peas, Garden Herb Crunchy Peas, Sea Salt & Lime Crunchy Peas, Sweet Cocoa Crunchy Peas and their newest flavour Mango Habanero Cruncy Peas that was introduced in 2018. I tried the Sea Salt & Lime Crunchy Peas and enjoyed them as a snack.

Check out their website -

Gravelbourg Mustard


Gravelbourg Mustard was established in 2008. Val Michaud purchased Gravelbourg Mustard in June 2011. They do a lot of interesting things with mustard. They feature nine styles of delicious mustard including French, German, Cajun, Jalapeño, Honey Dill, Garlic, Cranberry and Saskatoon Berry . They also feature Dry Mustard (a powder used for cooking) and Dry Rub Mustard (a seasoning spice for meats). Val Michaud and Gravelbourg Mustard were once showcased on "Dragon's Den" on CBC on December 7th, 2017 an episode in which she had the Dragon’s drinking Cranberry Mustard martinis and picking mustard covered appetizers off the floor and eating them. Check it out, you can watch that episode right here. Spoiler Alert: She now makes a Beer Mustard made with gluten free beer from Minhas Brewery. Manjit Minhas is one of the Dragon’s. At the end of the episode Minhas was quoted as “I’m gonna make you a millionaire.” Gravelbourg Mustard is doing pretty well.

Check out their website if you are interested in their mustard products -

Three Farmers Products


Three Farmers Products is located at 1438 Fletcher Road in Saskatoon. Their products include cold-pressed camelina oil, Three Farmers very own Roasted Chickpeas and Pea Pops. Three Farmers Roasted Chickpeas are both good for you and delicious. This product is grown and made in Canada and just like our camelina oil, it’s traceable back to the farm where the chickpeas were grown. Three Farmers Roasted Chickpeas are an excellent nut free and gluten free alternative to traditional snacks or salad toppers. They come in Lightly Salted, Barbecue, Balsamic & Cracked Roasted Pepper, Sea Salt & Lime, Maple Cinnamon flavours. Pea Pops come in Wild Ranch, Dill Pickle Pow, Sriracha, Lightly Salted flavours. They are Nut Free, Gluten Free and Vegan.

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Agriculture Advocates and Support

The Farm Stress Line was created by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1989. Mobile Crisis Services took over operation of the Farm Stress Line in 2012 and was able to turn it into a 24-hour, seven days a week service. Their Mission is to provide confidential crisis telephone counselling, support, information and referral services that respond to the needs of rural individuals, youth and families living on the farm or in a rural Saskatchewan community.

- Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-667-4442

Megz Reynolds

Megz Reynolds farms near White Bear, SK (North of Swift Current), and she regularly blogs and posts on social media about farming. Follow her on Facebook (Farmer Megz) and get acquainted with her writings at Dirt, Sweat and Tears

Saskatchewan Women in Ag

Saskatchewan Women in Ag was co-founded by Kim Keller, Jaclyn Baum and Ginelle Pidwerbesky in 2012. Each year they are proud to present a $2,500 Scholarship to the University of Saskatchewan College of Agriculture and Bio-resources Undergraduate Scholarships. They host and partner with others in the Ag industry to put on a variety of educational and networking events throughout the year. They understand the importance of teaching children where their food comes from and the importance of Agriculture, so each year they donate a portion of their calendar sales to Ag In the Classroom SK to help with their amazing mission.

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"Do More Ag" is a new mental health foundation launched by Kim Keller (who is a farmer from Gronlid, SK), it began on January 30th, 2018, and it aims to connect farmers with mental health help and resources. Lesley Kelly (Watrous-based farmer) is the Co- Founder of The Do More Agriculture Foundation. Do More Ag launched a 1-year pilot community fund with Farm Credit Canada on September 10th (World Suicide Prevenion Day). Goal of the community fund is to provide mental health first aid training to people in rural areas across Canada. The Regina-based Farm Credit Canada is providing $50,000 to set up a mental health support system for farmers. FCC has entered into a partnership with the

Do More Agriculture Foundation to create a network of mental health first aiders to help farmers cope with difficult circumstances.

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