Ask people what industries fuel the economic engine of Rainy River District and no doubt forestry and tourism would spring to mind first, followed closely by mining given New Gold’s mine north of Barwick is scheduled to go into production this fall while various exploration projects are going on elsewhere.
But as was showcased during the annual soil and crop tour last Thursday, as well as at the Emo Agricultural Research Station’s yearly open house that evening, agriculture also plays a vital role in the district’s economy.
And best of all, that impact is growing.
More and more district farmers are getting into crops like canola, soybeans, and corn. At EARS, trials are showing how galega, hops, and different varieties of beans can be grown successfully here.
There’s even a field of sunflowers that’s said to be a first for the district in 20 years.
Perhaps most encouraging is not only the influx of people coming here of late to take up farming, but the fact there’s so many younger farmers taking on the challenge who obviously see agriculture as a lifelong means to support their families.
Still another positive sign is the sizeable investments being made to expand and improve fields through tile drainage.
The district already has a solid reputation for its “Rainy River Raised” beef. But it’s great to see the ag industry here is evolving beyond just cattle, which is good news for consumers in a greater choice of “local foods” and, of course, for area businesses and communities that reap the economic spin-offs thriving farms provide.
A healthy agriculture industry is of utmost importance to Rainy River District and all efforts must be made to foster its continued growth.