Hays fam­ily/seed op­er­a­tion named one of the BMO Farm Fam­i­lies for 2019

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - NEWS - Con­trib­uted

Go­ing to seed can be a good thing, if you’re the 2019 BMO Farm Fam­ily for the Mu­nic­i­pal Dis­trict of Taber.

The Hu­ve­naars — Richard and Linda, and their son Carl — have shifted from a whole­sale seed op­er­a­tion to a re­tail one, with Carl tak­ing the lead on the new ven­ture.

“I am more or less the hired man. We are al­ways here to guide him if he needs it, but we haven’t had to do too much of that,” Richard said. “It’s re­ally grown the past few years, so he must be do­ing some­thing right.”

The story of the farm starts in Hol­land. Richard’s fa­ther faced a com­mon prob­lem: too many sib­lings, not enough farm. As one of eight boys in the fam­ily, he had lit­tle chance to in­herit the farm. So, he em­i­grated to Canada and set­tled in the Hays area, along with two of his broth­ers.

“He didn’t have hardly any cash in his pocket. He had a lot of help from a farmer in Warner that he worked for,” Richard said. “I think he got his first bank loan from the Bank of Montreal to buy a cow. And that was the ex­tent of it...it was labour — and some en­joy­ment — to build the op­er­a­tion.”

Richard joined the fam­ily seed busi­ness in 1984, farm­ing with his par­ents and brother. In 1998, his par­ents re­tired and the broth­ers went on their own. His brother went re­tail; Richard went whole­sale. Carl signed on in 2010 and started grow­ing the busi­ness. When Richard’s brother and sis­ter-in-law re­tired a few years back, Carl saw the op­por­tu­nity to shift into the re­tail mar­ket.

To­day, the op­er­a­tion works 1,600 acres, grow­ing a va­ri­ety of wheats, bar­ley, beans, canola, flax, sun­flow­ers, al­falfa and peas, uti­liz­ing min­i­mum tillage with crop ro­ta­tion. And they’ve added a cow-calf op­er­a­tion to the mix.

“We went along for 33 years and then our son comes along and all of a sud­den we have 189 head of cat­tle,” Richard said. He added that hired man Wayne Do­erk­sen’s knowl­edge and skill with the an­i­mals has been in­valu­able.

“I bought a farm that had a lease al­lot­ment with it and a lot of cat­tle. So, it was go in now or go in never, and I de­cided to go in,” Carl said. “I don’t mind it at all. I find it less stress than the seed busi­ness.”

Carl is re­spon­si­ble for most of the de­ci­sion mak­ing, while Richard runs the equip­ment and Linda looks af­ter the books. Daugh­ter Christina is also in the farm­ing busi­ness, but in Saskatchew­an with her hus­band, Chris deWin­ter. Carl is con­tin­u­ing an­other fam­ily tra­di­tion: com­mu­nity in­volve­ment: Hays Fire De­part­ment, Hays Civic Cen­tre and the Taber Seed Clean­ing Plant. He’s also taken over Richard’s po­si­tion on the Prairie Grain De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee.

“A big part of where we are now is the help we had from neigh­bours and friends over the years to get through tough times,” Richard said. “Some­times you run a bit late or are short on time and it seems like there is al­ways some­one there to help.”

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