Saturday, October 22, 2011

Covenant News

Here is a story just done in Chicago by Stan Friedman. Go to the ECC site to see the picture...

Record Kernels of Hope Crop to Benefit Congo Farmers
MELFORT, SK (October 19, 2011) – Kendell Arndt doesn’t know how to farm the 80 acres he purchased, so he turned growing canola grain into a community project that will benefit farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The member of Melfort Covenant Church is participating in the Kernels of Hope program, which is operated on behalf of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada. Farmers in several provinces donate their time to grow wheat and canola crops on a portion of their land set aside to be “purchased” by virtual farmer donors. Those donations pay the costs of rent, seed, chemicals, insurance, and custom work.

Kendell Arndt and Ray Baloun
When the crops are sold, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) matches the grain sales revenue on a four-to-one ratio to reach the final donation amount. That money is distributed to the intended recipients through the Canadian Food Grains Bank and World Relief Canada.

Since its inception in 2005, Kernels has raised more than $1.7 million. Arndt has helped with the program from the beginning, but he has done so as a virtual farmer and someone who encourages others to donate land.

Arndt bought the property two years ago and had considered renting it to farmers. “Then it clicked in my brain that I could donate it just like I have asked farmers to do for the past six years,” he told a local newspaper.

Local businesses were eager to help him farm the property as soon as they heard what Arndt wanted to do. A local equipment retailer seeded, sprayed, and harvested the crop. Another friend agreed to haul the grain to the local elevator, and that friend enlisted someone he knew to donate the seed.

Arndt did help harvest the canola field. He got a quick lesson in running a large John Deere combine and helped drive it through the fields.

Business owners said that helping with Kernels was such a rewarding experience, they look forward to doing it again next year. That has been the experience across the country as the number of people involved continues to grow.

“We get more virtual farmers all the time,” says Covenanter Ray Baloun, who initiated and now oversees the project. “It’s easier for me to find real farmers each year, too!”

Baloun reports that yields have been good and prices “quite good.” Although he won’t have final numbers for another three weeks, Baloun says, “I am guessing it may be our best year ever.”

Just over $19,000 worth of canola was harvested from Arndt’s property recently. Because of the 4:1 matching funds, that harvest yielded a total of $76,000.

In previous years, money from the Kernels project was used to provide implements and other needed supplies to farmers in South Sudan and Liberia

The Newbergs !

Our Kernels family in Hyas, Saskatchewan near the now famous town of Norquay, is Warren and Pam Newberg ! They aren't into the internet and we have been missing each other by phone so far but this week we connected !
They had seeded 20 acres of canola for us. The weather was more favorable there than it was in Manitoba this year and I am so pleased to report that they had a verrry good yield. It yielded 45 bushels per acre after the dockage is removed. Niiice ! We haven't priced it or taken it to the elevator yet. We will do that soon. The price is over $11.00 a bushel which is very high compared to most other years in the history of canola.
This is one more piece in the Kernels puzzle for this year. I will soon be able to put all the pieces together and tell you what we have done for World Relief Canada and the Canadian Food Grains Bank and specifically the people in the Congo. I do know the numbers are looking good again. We have already advanced some money previously to catch some of the earlier Government match offer.
Good things are still happening through Kernels ! Stay Tuned for updates !

Ray the Grain Guy