This spring, Heidi and Matt Reimer will move to the Reimer family farm, while the elder farmers move into a house in the nearby town of Killarney.
“I’m super excited,” said Heidi, who is nearing the end of her training as a nurse.
“I grew up on a farm. I know all about farm life.”
For Heidi and Matt, that isn’t just a local move, but a 1,700 kilometre shift from the sub-arctic of Churchill to the rich southern Prairies.
The couple lives on the frozen shores of Hudson Bay while Heidi completes her senior nursing practicum at the local hospital.
Matt came along for the experience, something he’s able to do because his main job is working from spring to fall on the family farm.
In the winter, his main concern is marketing his farm’s crops.
Since Churchill has good high speed internet, he can live up north and execute his farm’s hedging needs.
“I locked in 25 percent of our next year’s expected canola production this week online,” said Matt.
Good internet access allows the young producer to keep up with his farm community in the south.
Matt uses Twitter, an internet-based communications service that allows him to follow farmers and other agriculture-related people from across the Prairies and the world.
He first got involved with Twitter when he worried that the federal government might fail to break the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly and he wanted to be able to engage in the debate as a young farmer.
But now he uses it mostly for marketing information.
Twitter’s tweets allow him to get leading ag market information from analysts such as Arlan Suderman.
And he uses such current information when deciding when to pull the trigger on a crop price.
“It helps me time an entry or an exit better,” said Matt.
The Reimer farm is a grain farm encompassing 2,800 to 2,900 acres “except in wet years,” he said, referring to the crippling flooding and saturation that hit the region in recent years.
The farm was first established by his maternal great-grandfather.
His parents took it over after they were married, with Matt’s father’s family farm being taken over by one of his brothers.
Heidi grew up on a farm at nearby Boissevain. She and Matt, who married more than a year ago, didn’t know each other from school, but met at a Bible camp.
Timing is working out pretty well for the Reimers. Matt, 27, has been working full time on the family farm from spring to fall since he was 21, and living off-farm in the winter.
“In those days, where I lived wasn’t a big deal,” said Matt.
“I was on-farm in the season, then lived wherever I had a job driving truck.”
But since getting married, the couple has wanted to become more settled, so moving to the family farm this spring will be ideal.
For now, they’re enjoying their northern adventure and considering travel to Bangladesh in March to see Matt’s brother, who is doing engineering aid work with the Mennonite Central Committee.
Living in Churchill was a choice they’re glad they made.
Heidi requested work in Churchill for the adventure, and because she wants to work in an isolated hospital.
“I thought it would be a similar-sized hospital to what we have back in Killarney,” said Heidi.
“I can do the same sort of stuff there that I’m doing here.”