Farmers grow donated wheat to help raise money for Sask. youth ranch

Farmers across Saskatchewan came together this year to help support the Broken Arrow Youth Ranch by doing what they do best: growing bushels of wheat.

Seed, land, labour all donated to help Broken Arrow Youth Ranch help families

Landra and Lee Mackenzie with Todd Moroz and a field of AAC Cameron wheat being grown to benefit the Broken Arrow Youth Ranch. (submitted by Broken Arrow Youth Ranch)

Farmers across Saskatchewan came together this year to help support the Broken Arrow Youth Ranch by doing what they do best: growing bushels of wheat.

The Broken Arrow Youth Ranch in the Wood Mountain area of Saskatchewan is aimed at helping families by taking in children.

"The truth is all families go through ups and downs and I can't think of a harder job than parenting," ranch employee Todd Moroz told CBC Radio's Morning Edition.

"At times, families are found in situations where they're simply overwhelmed. Broken Arrow is a place where the children from those families can come when they're struggling… we give the children a loving and nurturing home in a ranch setting and we work with the entire family to try to reunite them when they're doing better."

There are chores for the children, like feeding the chickens, or bottlefeeding orphaned calves, and he says the opportunity to care for another living creature helps the children.

"Sometimes there's walls built up and trust issues are there, and to see the children connect with animals has been an integral part of what happens at Broken Arrow."

In-kind donations

Moroz is fond of the saying "It takes a village to raise a child" and this year, seven farmers in the province stepped up to help the ranch by growing wheat.

During a visit with his aunt and uncle who are crop scientists with Agriculture Canada in Manitoba, they mentioned a new spring wheat variety called AAC Cameron. Todd and Lara Moroz's firstborn son was named Cameron; he died 13 years ago during open heart surgery to repair a congenital heart defect. The family felt the new wheat's name was serendipitous.

Canterra Seed donated Cameron seed to seven farms this year, enough to plant 40 acre plots. Families in North Portal, Bruno, Norquay, Coronach, Wilkie, Strasbourg and Limerick provided land, labour and equipment and many other corporate donors helped with things like seed storage, delivery and herbicide application.

A field of AAC Cameron wheat under cultivation. (submitted by Broken Arrow Youth Ranch)

The wheat has yielded an average between 26-70 bushels an acre, according to the ranch.

"The harvest of that is just finishing up in these recent days and we're just so thankful and blessed for how that helps the ministry but for us personally just to keep our son's memory alive and know that it's going towards a good cause," said Moroz.

Profits from the yield will help support the youth ranch. In addition, to help the farm's cattle overwinter after such a dry summer, a couple in Winnipeg donated corn seed that was planted by a family in Coronach.

Broken Arrow has had more than 25 children come through the ranch over the past few years, mostly from Saskatchewan, but also some from Alberta and a family from Nunavut as well.

Moroz said this Thanksgiving, he's grateful for family and "the opportunity to walk alongside of other families… so that we can grow together. I can't think of a better way to make my living or to give back to the communities that I'm so happy to be a part of."

with files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition