Sorting through the stories we have had the honour of covering this year, left us with a lot to sift through and it was hard to pick just five…
Here are the top Rural Roots Canada stories of 2013:
1 – The flood of 2013 in Alberta is being called a once in a generation natural disaster. People and businesses in close proximity to rivers across central and southern Alberta were devastated. Farms and feedlots were not exempt. One of the most iconic photos during the flood was that of residents of High River being rescued by a combine from a local equipment dealership in water that was chest deep in the shallow areas. Western Feedlots just down the river also suffered losses in the form of some of their herd. The losses are immeasurable.
2 – Despite a cold, damp start to the planting and growing season farmers across the prairies produced a record harvest, thanks in part to a remarkable turn in events on the weather front in July, August and September. The record harvest created a bottle neck for Canada’s two major railways. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada estimated that 80 million tonnes of grain was produced this year, 38 million of which needs to be shipped. CP Railway told Rural Roots Canada they set monthly shipping records in both September and October.
3 – A man, with a very large heart and who has been known for giving in the past gave a gift that turned the heads of many this year. J.C. (Jack) Andersen donated 100 vintage cars, which he had poured his blood, sweat and tears into over the years to Olds College to be auctioned off. The June auction brought in $1,177,500 for the Olds College Centennial Entrepreneurship Legacy Fund.
4 – In May, a group of farmers were busy seeding their crop on the north end of the Blood Reserve in Southern Alberta when they stumbled upon a rather ‘explosive find’. The producers found old World War II dummy bombs in an old lake bed. The E.O.D. team from CFB Suffield was called out to assess and deal with the situation. However, in true fashion, the farmers didn’t let this slow them down, as they went right back to work.
5 – On the technology front: Reading cattle tags one at a time may be a thing of the past thanks to the work being done at SAIT Polytechnique. Researchers have been field testing new ultra high frequency radio tags in the field aimed at being able to read a tag at 32 kilometres per hour, seven animals a breast in a five metre wide alley.
Honourable Mention: In July, Austria and Ireland took gold at the World Plowing Championships in Olds. Margaretta Heigl and Barbara Klaus both from Austria finished on the podium with the eyes of the plowing world locked on Olds, Alberta. Klaus took home the gold in the conventional plow division, while Heigl finished second to Ireland’s John Whelan in the reversible plow division.