Saskatchewan·Point of View

Seeds of hope: Spring on the farm brings new beginnings, no matter what we've gone through

As a farmer, spring means a fresh start, a chance for new life, hope and opportunities.

Spring means a fresh start, a chance for new life, hope and opportunities

Seeding is back underway at Lesley Kelly's family farm. (Supplied by Lesley Kelly)

This year, my family is planting seeds of canola and hope.

Spring is my favourite season. The days get longer, weather turns warmer and equipment gets pulled out to be serviced and made ready for the field.

As a farmer, spring means a fresh start, a chance for new life, hope and opportunities.

Nothing beats being in a tractor, planting a new crop with one of my sons in the buddy seat beside me, smelling the fresh soil and watching that hard work come to life.

A hard year

Farmers are best known for our work ethic, resiliency and the eternal optimism that helps us as we work through challenges and obstacles that are outside of our control. 

This past year was an especially hard one for many of us. We were faced with drought during the planting and growing seasons, which lowered our yields. After that came a "harvest from hell," with rain and snow that left unharvested crops in the field and downgraded what we were able to take off.

My family and I were considered some of the lucky ones. We were able to get our crop off hours before the snow came. 

'The people closest to you will help you weather any storms, on the farm or in life,' says Lesley Kelly. (Supplied by Lesley Kelly)

The challenges didn't end at harvest though. Closed export markets, rail strikes and blockades slowed down the shipment of crops and — as a result — slowed down farmers selling and getting paid. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our farm communities, impacting markets and economies across the world, creating uncertainties around the supply of farm inputs, and more.

On top of all of those challenges, this spring is different for my family and I. We're down the captain of our team. 

Farmer Lesley Kelly says COVID-19 has changed spring seeding for her family

2 years ago
Duration 3:29
Sask. farming family makes adjustments despite several challenges faced this year.

Weathering the storm together

My dad beat cancer last harvest. Unfortunately, cancer came back and he is undergoing chemo treatments.

When he shared with us the news of his cancer spreading, my dad — who has grown more than 40 years of crops — said, "Stay positive. We've got this."

As farmers, there are not many things my family can control. But there is one thing we can do for my dad. We can help him weather this storm.

This spring we won't hear his voice over the radio, warning us to not get too close to the slough where we'll get stuck. We won't see him for our early morning tailgate check-ins sharing what the next steps are if that rain comes. But we will have the seeds he's planted within us. 

Those seeds helped us make decisions when he wasn't there, gave us the confidence to learn from our mistakes and the positive attitude to help us get through the hard times. They taught us the value of hard work and taking care of our land and natural resources, and the importance of family and being there for each other. 

'This spring is different for my family and I. We're down the captain of our team,' Lesley Kelly says. (Supplied by Lesley Kelly)

Through this past hard harvest, and winter season, and COVID-19, what is apparent is that those around me matter the most in life. The people closest to you will help you weather any storms, on the farm or in life.

This spring will be different. My dad won't be there leading us, but he will be cheering us on from the sidelines as we get in the tractor, ready to plant seeds of canola and hope.

This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor's blog and our FAQ.

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Lesley Kelly farms in Saskatchewan and runs a successful blog called High Heels and Canola Fields. She co-founded the Do More Agriculture Foundation, is a motivational speaker, podcaster and a marketing professional. She has spoken on behalf of numerous farm and ag groups.


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