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Southern Alberta agriculture industry a major force for Canadian Foodgrains Bank

Click to play video 'Southern Alberta agriculture industry a major force for Canadian Foodgrains Bank' Southern Alberta agriculture industry a major force for Canadian Foodgrains Bank
WATCH ABOVE: The second year of a partnership between grain-handling firm Viterra and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank is providing food aid to people in need across the world. Matt Battochio reports.

The second year of a partnership between grain-handling firm Viterra and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank is providing food aid to people in need across the world.

READ MORE: Taber and District Foodgrains Project helps to combat world hunger 

On Tuesday, just outside Lethbridge, the two organizations came together to celebrate a 7,000 bushel yield of red spring wheat, the proceeds of which were donated to the Foodgrains Bank.

“We had the land available across several of our locations across Western Canada,” said Davin Lockwood, Viterra’s market centre manager for the Lethbridge area. “And we felt this was a great opportunity to partner with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank in order to help the less fortunate people globally.”

Viterra provided more than 120 hectares of land across Alberta and Saskatchewan, including 65 hectares around their Lethbridge terminal, which grossed around $55,000.

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Les Bolstad of Mercer Seeds Ltd., farmed the land in Lethbridge on behalf of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. It was a donation of time that he said he was happy to provide.

“Doing these projects is our way of giving back,” Bolstad said. “It’s a small thing, but it means so much to people that it affects.”

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank had growing projects in several different parts of southern Alberta this year, including by Medicine Hat, Burdett, Taber, Chin, Coaldale, Lethbridge, Picture Butte, Vauxhall and Newell.

Andre Visscher, the Southern Alberta Canadian Foodgrains Bank co-ordinator, estimates the total money raised from the area to be well over $1 million. He said it’s a major contribution to help combat world hunger.

“Last year we did $38 million of food assistance and agriculture development projects [or] nutritional programs in 34 different countries, mainly in southeast Asia, Africa and South Sudan,” Visscher said.

READ MORE: Snow and rain delay harvest in Alberta

The work of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank has been recognized by Charity Intelligence Canada, who included the organization in its 2018 list of the Top 10 impact charities in Canada. The list was based on the impact resulting from each dollar donated.

“It’s very significant. We’re very happy with that kind of endorsement,” Visscher said. “Donors to the Foodgrains Bank can be confident that the money is used wisely and food — if it’s needed – comes… [to] the people that need it.”

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In 2016-17, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank helped over 900,000 people in 35 countries.