Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's Nearly Christmas !

We had a long and late crop season this year. We just about have all the numbers gathered up from this years harvest. We had the Arndt's field in Melfort stay unseeded because of too much rain. The other fields fought the rain but in the end we had mostly pleasant surprises and relatively high grain prices ! I will have some real totals for you within the next two weeks but can safely say we ( Kernels of Hope ) (together with the CIDA matching funds) will have raised crops and money worth in the neighbourhood of just under $400,000 in 2010
Thankyou for any part you have had in helping the poorest of the poor...
We have done well ! I can only imagine the difference this will make !
I will post again before the end of the year ! (Not post as in Fence )

Ray the Grain Guy

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Getting involved Update info

If you would like to learn more about the Farming project take a look at these posts...

If you would like to get involved helping us farm by being a Virtual Farmer you can contact me at
or you can go to our website to donate now . Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada at There you will see a blue button on the left that says Donate now. That takes you to Canada Helps . When you get there you just choose Kernels of Hope as the designation. You will be issued a tax receipt. Please send me your email address if you'd like to be updates throughout the growing season or simply check this site for updates throughout the year. Thankyou for thinking of others in this way !

Cheques can also be sent to

ECCC Box 34025 RPO Fort Richmond, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 5T5

Make the cheque to ECCC and write Kernels on the note line at the bottom ! A receipt will be mailed out !

If you would like help starting something like this in your own area, congregation or denomination I am willing to help get you started off on the right foot !

Ray the Grain Guy

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Poverty Perspective from Laurie Cook of WRC

Oct 2010
So here I am again putting together another edition of Poverty Perspective and I feel like I need to come with a Mea Culpa. There is something extremely humbling about writing a post regarding abject poverty and food scarcity when I just finished a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by family, great friends and a fully ridiculous amount of food. I am originally from Texas, so I will readily admit that I come from a culture of food. There is nothing that is done in Texas that does not include eating. "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing while eating " is a state motto down there. Sometimes I think that over here in North America food is so easy that we take it for granted. Food is like a wonder drug to us - there is nothing it can't cure or be the answer for.

New neighbour ? Take them some food! A friend is sick ? Let's make casseroles! Invited to someone's house for dinner ? Take dessert ! Having an early morning meeting ? You can't go wrong with donuts ! Birthday ? Bake a cake ! Thanksgiving ? Bake a pie ! Christmas ? Make a fruitcake ! (Although I have never done this or seen someone do it... in fact I have a theory that there are only a dozen fruitcakes in existence and they keep being "re-gifted" year after year.)Easter ? How 'bout Paska! Valentines Day ? Cupcakes for everyone! Canada Day ? Let's Bar-B-Q !! Church Annual General Meeting ? Make it a Potluck !

You name the event, there is a food that is appropriate here in North America. This is our world, our ethos, our culture, our social expectation. I recently found an online calendar that lists all the "special days of the year" and sat there aghast at the extensive list including "International Homemade Cookie Day" and "National Cold Cuts Day" and "National Pastry Day" and an entire "Asparagus Month " and other such nonsense. I don't want to demean asparagus oor any other vegetable for that matter, but do we really need a day (much less a whole month) to celebrate it ? This entire exercise seems to have become absurd (unless my wife is reading this and then homemade cookie doesn't seem like that much of a stretch ... maybe we can celebrate that one).

But honestly, we have come to the point that we completely and totally take food for granted. We are creating reasons to eat things. Which is funny because we already have a perfectly good reason for eating. It's called hunger. It's the point where our body says. "help me out here, I am running out of energy." It is also the point that we seem to sprint right past on Thanksgiving Day as we load up our plate for the second time - because there wasn't room to get some of everything the first ime we filled it. (Of coure maybe we just have small plates)

But seriously, we have so much food, so readily available that we just naturally expect it to be there for us. Getting food for us is easy. We are hunter/gatherers. We hunt for a parking space at the grocery store and then gather everything we want in our baskets before checking out. Truth is, we have lost touch with the concept of need. We are used to simply getting, and when we can't, we lose all sense of reason. I know - I saw this firsthand at the grocery store on the Saturday before Thanksgiving as two women were coming to blows over who would get the last packet of sage. I'm not kidding. They were hollering and threatening each other like this was the world's only packet of life saving medicine for their children. I stood there somewhat bemused and partially in mouth-gaping awe at the spectacle of them. The show was cut short when the store manager, we'll call him Solomon, offered to get two ziplock bags and let the women split the contents of the package evenly. The crisis was averted, two families got the appropriate amount of spice on their stuffing, and no one was injured. I also realized that I was feeling somehow superior as I stood there because I knew I had plenty of sage in a small jar in my pantry at home.

Why am I telling you all this? Because there is another day coming up on the calendar soon - October 16th is World Food Day. World Food Day is a world-wide event designed to increase awareness and understanding of, as well as to promote year-round action towards the alleviation of hunger. I am not advocating ways that we celebrate or even recognize World Food Day in this post. What I am doing however, is suggesting that we might want to take some time, after we emerge from our post-Thanksgiving meal stupor, to think about those who do not have the privilege of celebrating every conceivable event in their lives and communities with feasts. Those for whom the words "food security" do not mean "keep the pies on the counter so the dogs don't get them before dessert" like they did in my house growing up.

Men nd women who struggle to feed their families every other day because eating two days in a row would deplete their scarce food supply too quickly. Stop and give them a few moments of your time and thoughts today. Offer up some honest prayers for them, and for us - because there is something wrong with the balance in the world. And while you are doing that, maybe take a second to consider how far your dollar goes towards feeding those families when we get those four quarters matched at the Canadian Food Grains Bank and then multiplied by the Canadian International Development Agency.

How far will it go? $9 to $1 is the answer. NINE to ONE. For every dollar you give we can send an additional nine more dollars overseas. That's $10 that can feed families. $10 that can train farmers to grow more and better crops. $10 that can provide the basic tools necessary to meet the agricultural needs of a community. And that's if you give just a single loonie.

I truly do hope that you had a blessed Thanksgiving weekend. I hope the time with your family was rich. I hope the laughter around the table was loud and heartfelt. I hope the fellowship was life giving. I hope you got to eat something as good as the buttermilk pie I made for my friends (because, that might be the best pie in the known world).

But with all of that, I hope you stopped to be thankful for all that God has given us - we truly are blessed. I can tell you that we at World Relief Canada stopped and thanked God for you this Thanksgiving. You are the most iimportant partner in all we do. Without you, there would be no World Relief. You are the reason we can continue Cultivating Hope and Growing Communities. And that is worth putting a special day on the calendar to say Thanks!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

All in !

We just got word that the Tiede's got the wheat harvested in Alberta. Yield was approx 60 bu an acre... that's very good.. There are some quality issues because of the hard life it led this season but we are working on it !

Monday, October 11, 2010


We have been making great progress for harvest lately ! 6 of our 7 fields have reported they are harvested... Here is an update of recent happenings.

Rock Olson did get the canola harvested on the edge of Norquay, Saskatchewan. We got 410 bushels of canola from that field. 41 bushels per acre. Will release the $ bu on that part soon.

The way the year looked 41 bu is verrrry nice ! All of the grain prices have been improving lately so that will help us raise more $ but that often makes it harder for people in other countries to access reasonably priced food. We want to keep helping !

Gerald & Darla at Kinistino figured out how to raise canola in near flood conditions. The crop survived to produce 30.5 bushels per acre. That was on a 50 acre field... Not bad at all ! They also were able to get $9.95 / bushel which adds up to a lot of money for our Sudanese partners.

Jim and Bryan with a "y" Sandstrom got the Kernels wheat harvested at Minnedosa this week. The weather here this week was better than at most anytime during the whole growing season. Yield and quality are yet to be determined on this wheat.

We'll tell you more as we go about the harvest. I wanted to add some pictures of what canola looks like when it is mature and ready for harvest. Also I added a picture of the seed size compared to a quarter (25 cent coin ) It is amazing to look at those little tiny seeds and think of how they add up and grow up to become something !

We are looking forward to reports from the Norquay area on the Helping Feed the World initiative that gives such a boost to the Kernels of Hope figures every year.

Taste ?

Many of you that know me (or people like me ) know that I don't like vegetables !

I just had to show you this action shot of me eating some ! It reminds me how blessed we are to be able to have our choice of food in this country... Can you imagine having barely any food and making a face like that when some food was finally provided ?

Thanksgiving drives the point home even more where we need to not take things for granted and we need to remember those in need. Sometimes people think they can't make a difference in the big picture... Every TV picture is made up of tiny little dots that make a wonderful picture for all to see. Be one of the dots ( I am just helping to connect those dots ) . The worst thing that can happen when you make that decision whether to help in some way or not, is to feel you won't make a difference and you do nothing. It all starts with you. Thankyou for being a part of Kernels !

The Partnership

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Those canola fields that were full of the nice yellow flowers this summer have lost their color !
As each yellow flower fell off a pod was formed and the color of the canola was green ! Next the color went to brown as the plants were swathed and left in rows to mature and dry out for harvest. Two of our farmers did get the Kernels Canola off ! Steve and Loni Marvin got theirs into the elevator already. There was 400 bushels from that 10 acre field after dockage was deducted. We priced that at $ 10.00 per bushel a couple of months ago. The price has sneaked up a little higher than that now ! Traditionally $10/ bu is a great price for canola.
Jardine Family farms also told me today that the field is harvested. It isn't in the elevator but will be later this week. We got 37 bu per acre on 20 acres at Brookdale, Manitoba. We got a really good basis on this. The basis is part of the pricing part of a canola contract. Low basis and high futures gives you lot's of money ! Once it arrives at the elevator we will look at the pricing.
It rained again today in southern Manitoba... Harvest seems to be taking a commercial break
... we'll be right back after this message ! :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The first Kernels field for this year is now Harvested !

Ron and Fran VanHeyst beat everyone with Earl's help and they took advantage of the brief period of nice weather at the end of August and harvested the wheat ! The wheat graded # 1 and had good protein. The protein is 14.1 . The moisture was just dry at 14.5 %. The dockage was 1.4% Dockage is made up of chaff and straw and broken seeds , weed seeds, dirt and other stuff ! After the dockage % was analyzed the net weight of clean grain ( the stuff we get paid for ) was 7.878 net tonnes.... there are 36.744 bushels in a metric tonne and that means we got 289 bushels. This field was small but bountiful ! This means it ran 50 bushels per acre. Not bad at all for the inclement weather this summer !

You'll see the field after harvest. All that is left is the stubble... Also you'll see Ron and Fuzzy ! Which one is Fuzzy ?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Canola at Kinistino

Gerald VanBurgsteden wrote on Sept 13 " The canola swaths are sitting in the muck... we had 4 inches of rain last week ! "
There is a slightly positive side...the swaths won't likely blow away in heavy winds when they are wet ! Canola dries out quicker than any other crop when things start to dry... The mud can cause a lot of problems driving the combines and the trucks in . Once in awhile crops need to have some very cold weather to firm up the ground to support the harvest equipment !

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Road to .....

This picture is worth a thousand words... aren't they all ?

But this one has more meaning than most...

You could interpret this one in the food aid mindset.

See the road beyond Ron's field ? This is a field that has been grown with care and with a purpose. It is being multiplied in yield and value by the nature God has provided and by people across North America teaming up to use the resulting produce to help those in need.

Does this road represent the Road to Africa in this case ? We are helping people resettle in Sudan, Africa to get their lives back to normal where they can grow crops and food of their own.

I think it does. It is also a road that has a destination for the virtual farmers.... We don't know when we will arrive at that destination but I know everyone on that road is on the right track. They have found it in their heart to make a difference helping people they have never met to have a better life ! For the recipients of our farming proceeds I know it is a Road to Hope.

Just imagine unexpectantly getting desperately needed help from across the ocean. It can make a life and death difference to those people and their children and soon their childrens children. Without hope that road would be awfully dark.... Maybe we can take that road using GPS ... God Provides Sustenance ! If we can keep working with others to give others food and shelter and the chance for hope, someday this little road will be a 4 lane highway !

Van Hyst Wheat Just before Harvest

Ron and Fran's wheat is nearly ready to Harvest ! Earl of VR Farms will be doing the combining.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fasting for Change CFGB

Go to the CFGB website to find out more about this program !
or go directly to this link
You can also get this badge there !

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Olson Canola is swathed !

The canola at the edge of Norquay is now swathed ! It is laying in nice orderly rows for the final phase of harvest ... the combine ! It usually has to mature about 1 to 3 weeks in the swath depending on how green the canola was cut and how the weather is after it is cut... some people don't even swath canola anymore ! We want the insides of the seeds to be at least 98 % bright yellow and we want the straw to dry down. When the combine rolls it will leave only fine particles in it's wake.

We still have risks at this stage... it could hail on the crop... it could rain and rain and rain... it could get extremely windy and roll and blow the swaths away... Sounds like a big bad wolf but it can happen... the price could also slip away as harvest progresses !

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rock and Nicole Olson Field Pictures

That's the Norquay Covenant Church int he background !

Here is the 10 acres of 5440 Invigor canola . It's right on the highway 49 at the edge of town.

Pictures taken July 29

Field of Dreams / Helping Feed The World

Field of Dreams at Norquay
Hudye Soil Services and Hudye Farms have been great supporters of Kernels of Hope since the beginning. Once again this year they have challenged producers in NE Saskatchewan to join Kernels through their Helping Feed the World initiative. Producers pledge to set aside the production form ten acres and donate the entire value to the Canadian Food Grains Bank through Kernels of Hope and World Relief Canada. With the CIDA match of 4 to 1 this may turn out to more than $100,000 again to help people in the South Sudan get back on track farming and feeding themselves through this new start ! See more below

July 29, 2010 At Norquay, Saskatchewan

Hudye Soil Services and Hudye Farms held their annual Field of Dreams day where Producers and ag industry people come to hear excellent speakers and see demonstrations of crops on field scale size trials. Aiming to fine tune new technologies and developments in agronomics to get more yield than most people ever dream of ! Here are some pictures of the day. This is some of the largest farm equipment used anywhere in the world.

Ugly Sweater wears on !

Larry Fast farms near Rivers, Manitoba. He knows farming and fashion ! He was who started the Ugly Sweater Saga by critiqueing the sweater Ray had bought new for $2 and was wearing . Larry paid $100 to the CFGB if I promised to not wear the sweater ever again. Since that would be $500 with the matching CIDA funds I agreed to the plea. Then Greg wore it for one day! He didn't like the sweater either but he was responsible for a good size pledge from staff and customers for the CFGB. Then the sweater story gets better. This spring I made a CFGB presentation to The Justice Mennonite Church and I challenged Larry to wear it for an entire Sunday . The congregation warmed to the idea of the warm sweater and had lot's of fun at the same time. Larry eventually wore the Ugly sweater and the pledges collected for this effort were $1550. Incredible ! So now my poor taste in clothing matched with my eye for deals has resulted in about $9500 that has went to people in need in Africa. Turning something bad into something good for so many ! Larry's pictures are above ... ( I still think the sweater is kinda okay )

Would anyone like to borrow the sweater ?

Ray the Grain Guy

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rock and Nicole Olson had a farm E I E I OHHHH

Here's a picture of the ten acres of canola that The Olsons are farming for us in Norquay.... It looks good. There is a little bit that is drowned out but it will yield well ! More pics to follow !

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Greg was part of the Ugly sweater story

Greg wore this Ugly sweater for one full day at work when staff and customers pledged $250 for the CFGB if he did it ! After that Larry Fast took the challenge and they raised $1550 ... with the first $100 paid by Larry for Ray (me ) not to ever wear it again this $2 sweater (new ) has raised $9500 counting the CIDA 4 to 1 Match... I do have expensive taste ! Just no fashion sense !

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jardine Family Farms @ Brookdale, Manitoba

Here is the canola field on the highway 3.5 miles west of Brookdale, Manitoba

It is looking very good. The excess moisture hasn't hurt it. The variety is 5020 and it is an Invigor variety. Weed control used is Liberty. 5020 is generally very high in yield !

Ron and Fran VanHeyst Wheat

I put up the CFGB sign at this field on Highway 10 in the Brandon area just north of the Rivers Junction. The wheat was seeded well before the monsoon and it used the moisture nearly as quickly as it came . There are 6 acres here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Crop Cam in action !

We started taking pictures with the crop cam at the Marvins June 22. It is facing south and it will take one digital picture each day for the whole time the canola crop is growing, we will then make it into a video where you can see the crop progress thru to harvest !

Melfort Washed out !

Here is some real farming for you ! Kendell & Jodine were going to seed their field in Melfort, Saskatchewan for Kernels ! They are rookies but no amount of experience would have overcome the amount of moisture they had this year ! Here is a quote from Kendell that I received today !
" Well it looks like we will not get a crop seeded this year, we came close twice , But it seems not meant to be. We will chem fallow this year and likely do canola next year . "

Oops ! anyway we will still be able to build awareness over the year and be ready for a great crop there in 2011 ! Farming ! Planning , execution of the plans and then you neeeed the weather !

Ray the Grain Guy

Sunday, June 20, 2010

On camera !

Steve and Lonni are returning for a second year as some of our real farmers in the Brandon area. They are growing 10 acres of canola for us. I'll check on the variety this week. It is seeded and just starting to grow !
We are filming the crop this year...not just the harvest ... we are setting up a digital camera to stay in the field all year. It will snap one still picture everyday till harvest. We should be able to watch 100 days of crop growth and change in one 3 minute video when the camera merges all the still shots together. You virtual farmers will get to see the real thing this year !

The camera knows to only take pictures in the daytime ! Should be fun !

Stay tuned !

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Sandstrom wheat

Jim and Bryan Sandstrom of Minnedosa told me on Sunday that the Kernels field likely wouldn`t get seeded this year because of the extended monsoon season (seems like one anyway ! ) then they texted me today that the field is seeded ! Now we need some warmth. we have the moisture for it !
A crop is like a person.... »It needs nutrition, water, fresh air, a good environment .... and not too much or too little of those to be healthy !

Like they said during the Memorial Cup National Hockey Tournament in Brandon last month
`Go Wheaties Go ! `

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wet behind the ears !

The rains have been coming steady... too steady. If Bryan and Jim Sandstrom at Minnedosa were growing corn this year for Kernels of Hope they would have corn that's wet behind the ears and everywhere else !
They do plan on growing wheat for us and as of Sunday June 6 it hasn't been seeded.... as soon as the ground dries out a bit...the rain comes again...
Stay tuned and stay dry !

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kendell and Jodine

Kendell and Jodine Arndt are first time Kernels farmers this year at Melfort, Saskatchewan.
They have a field right in town and will be seeding wheat once it dries up there !

They are first time real farmers this year but have been Virtual Kernels farmers with us for a long time!

Brandon Wheat

Ron And Fran VanHeyst have their Kernels wheat field seeded on Hwy #10 just north of Brandon. They are first time Kernels farmers. Earl van Renselaar is doing the work on their land ! Thanks to both for helping out ! I will get the CFGB Field sign up there soon !

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Ugly Sweater Gets an Outing !

Remember the Ugly Sweater ? You can see more about it in earlier postings here...
Larry Fast of Rivers, Manitoba was the one who first sponsored CFGB money to get rid of that Ugly Sweater ! On Sunday May 2 Larry wore it ALL day long! People of the congregation at the Justice Mennonite Church got $1200 together in a fun way of making a huge difference in the world of hunger ! The $1200 when matched 4 to 1 by CIDA results in $6,000 just for that day for the CFGB.... Put that $6,000 with the $2000 from Ray promising not to wear it and Greg Dunn getting sponsored to wear it for the day at work that makes $8,000 from a $2 purchase of the Sweater ! Clothing fit for A King !

Friday, April 30, 2010

It's Launch Time !

It's Launch Time ! That could be a play on words in some parts of the country...especially when we are talking about Hunger.... but for now I mean it's Launch time for the 2010 Kernels of Hope... As I said earlier, we are farming again in 2010 ! Once again we are going to connect you as Virtual Farmers to real farmers scattered throughout the 3 prairie provinces. We are growing canola and wheat on a total of about 250 acres... We are suggesting it will cost an average of $200 / acre to seed these crops this year. If you'd like to farm again this year or become a first time Virtual Farmer this year please write a cheque to ECCC ( and write Kernels on the note line) and mail to ECCC at Box 34025 RPO Fort Richmond, Winnipeg, Mb R3T 5T5
A receipt will be mailed to you directly from Winnipeg.
Last year, counting the matching CIDA funds Kernels generated $325,000 through the farm ! In 2010 we are supporting Year 3 of the WRC / CFGB Nutrition project in South Awiel County, Sudan. We are keying on improving nutrition especially for babies, children and mothers and are also supplying farming tools and seeds along with fishing equipment. Any where in the world a main goal of people is to be able to support your own family. We are enabling many people to do just that !
Thanks so much for anything you have been able to help with in the past and another thanks if you can grow with us this year !
Till next time ,
Ray the Grain Guy

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Pile of Grain !

Here's hoping we grow a Pile of Grain like this one this year !

3 fields lined up so far for 2010

Stay tuned for 2010 crop news !

We have wheat in Manitoba and Alberta
... and canola in Saskatchewan !

Still looking to finalize a couple more fields for the season...

Help others by growing with us !

Ray the Grain Guy

Friday, March 12, 2010

Here's the picture !

The Ugly Sweater Continues to Grow !

If that sounds like a story.... it is ! But this is a great story !

Sunday March 7 I had the chance to talk all about the Canadian Food Grains Bank during the Sunday morning service at the Mennonite Church at Justice... Justice is a great name for so many food related projects ! Larry Fast was the Moderator of the service and since he was the farmer who first gave me $100 not to wear the sweater last spring , I thought it verrrry appropriate that during the service I pull out the Ugly sweater and get people to sponsor Larry to wear the sweater he thinks is so Ugly for one whole Sunday. We had lot's of takers... !

This is the sweater that cost me $2 ( new ) at the store (at least it was my size ) and that we have since raised about $1700 counting the matching funds from CIDA !
If you want to see a picture of it Greg is pictured with it on in this Blogs archives...
Ray the Grain Guy