As the weather keeps playing its tricks, farmers in the southeast use every opportunity to put the seed in the ground. Dustin and Amanda Mack, enthusiastic family, farming alonside with Eagles family north of Macoun, already can see the light at the end of their work tunnel with about 32 out of 40 quarters of land already left behind the seeders.
“The weather has been pretty co-operative and we seem to have fairly decent moisture in our area,” said Amanda Mack.
The young Mack family, who didn’t inherit the farming lifestyle, but chose it as their life path not that long ago, has just a few quarters of their own, and as Amanda said, "99 per cent of the operation" and land belongs to their neighbour and a good friend Terry Eagles and his family. Families work side by side and support each other to make this lifestyle possible.
With around 5,000 acres to be seeded the Eagles and Macks were about 80 per cent done by May 15 with only flax and lentils left to go.
“We just have calibrated our air-drills and switched over to flax. But we have finished up peas, we have finished up durum, canola,” said Amanda.
With two air-drills going since the beginning of May and 18-hour days often starting at 2-3 a.m. Macks are ready to be done. And if the weather keeps co-operating they hope that will happen before the rain forecasted on the long weekend
The Saskatchewan crop report suggests that by May 6 seeding was furthest advanced in the southeastern region, where 23 per cent of the crop was in the ground. It means that a week and a half after the last report a lot of farmers in this part of the province were finding themselves in a similar situation with the Macks being well over half done.
When planning for this seeding season both the Macks and Eagles had to consider the risks associated with Chinese bans of Canadian canola, however, after all, they decided to proceed with their regular operation.
“Obviously there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the canola right now, but we are just going to get down on our knees and pray that everything turns around. We stuck with our original plan with the canola for this year, so let’s hope for the best,” said Amanda.
She noted that during seeding season she usually does a lot of “running around” for her husband and the neighbour who are running air-drills.
“I try to be more involved during harvest. It’s a little easier for me to hop into a truck with the kids and be able to help out then, than it is at seeding,” she said.
Ava Mack is just one and a half and Mya is already five. Both girls often join their parents in the equipment.
“They do love riding in the tractors for sure. Give it a few years and then they will be helping out a little bit more,” said Amanda laughing.
Besides farming both Amanda and Dustin already had a lot on their plates, with her being a realtor, them both running a hotshot service business and him also being an owner of an oilfield service company. The family had experience with farming in the past, but the start of the new farm still wasn’t a piece of cake for them.
“It’s been very tough the last two years. The downturn in oil, myself going back to school, and starting over at the farm has been very trying. Especially with our two beautiful little girls, but we want to show them the simpler life,” said Amanda.
It is never easy to get started as a young farmer, and unless you inherit the farm there are very few options. However, this family had the courage to try, and so far they’ve never regretted this choice.
“I love it. I didn’t actually think that I would as much as I do. I was born and raised in Estevan, so it was definitely a change for me to come out to the farm, but it’s been wonderful. It’s peaceful and we like to stay busy … It’s just been really great raising the kids out here and hopefully make a name for ourselves on the farm,” said Amanda.
She also noted that a lot of what they do and enjoy would be impossible without the Eagles family that helped them to join the farming community.
“I would like to extend our huge amount of gratitude to the Eagles family. Including Doreen, Terry, Trisha and Tristan. They have taken us under their wings and given a young farming couple a chance for a new beginning. The Eagles family came from a humble farming operation with the late Vic Eagles showing them the love for the farm life. They have shown us hard work, love, kindness will pay off. They have given us the chance of a new legacy for the Mack farm. We also want to thank Emanuel and Doreen Mack for setting all things aside and giving us a chance to start a new chapter,” said Amanda.