Farmers hope to pass on lifestyle

Good years and bad | Despite economic ups and downs, the Podhorodeskis enjoy farm life

SHIPMAN, Sask. — Edwin Podhorodeski jokes that he farms because he doesn’t know any better.

“Farming has been good to us. It has provided us a living, a good living, and we were able to raise a family and have a good lifestyle,” he said.

Edwin farms with his wife, Barbara, and parents, Ed and Mary, near Shipman, Sask., where the family grows 3,000 acres of canola, wheat and oats and produces 150 acres of hay.

Ed and Mary spend part of their summers residing on the farm that Ed began farming in the 1950s.

Edwin, who met Barbara at the University of Saskatchewan, always planned to farm but Barbara modified her plans.

“It’s just the way it worked out. I went to school thinking I would go out into the (agriculture) industry and I started for a while, but things changed,” Barbara said.

The Podhorodeskis were married 26 years ago and have two sons, Chevlin, 21, and Chase, 19.

Chevlin is an electrician in Prince Albert and Chase is studying engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. Both help their parents farm.

The family also received help from agriculture students from France this summer and farm worker Earl Onyskevitch year round.

They had cattle until three years ago, but downsized to only five cows to maintain the yard and pasture.

The Podhorodeskis keep abreast of the latest practices and trends by attending crop shows and taking classes.

They direct seed their crop with a variable rate application and work with a crop consultant who maps their fields so they have the right amount of nitrogen where it’s needed.

The family practises zero till and straight cut combining at harvest time.

They load their cereals onto grain cars in the Choiceland-Nipawin area, with their canola shipped to Bunge in Nipawin.

This crop year is going better for the Podhorodeskis than last year.

“We don’t know what average is,” said Edwin.

“We’ve forgotten now,” added Barbara.

The Podhorodeskis have faced both the good and bad in agriculture.

“(In) 2009, we took all our canola off in November and we put everything through a dryer and we had to combine just about everything at night because there was just a little bit of snow so you’d have to do it when it was below -5 or something like that,” said Edwin.

Farming has introduced the Podhorodeskis to the world.

They were in Australia for five and a half months in 1989–90, met the biggest importer of oats in Mexico, visited Chile to see their winter nurseries and travelled to France for a student’s wedding and stayed in students’ homes.

“We milked cows in France. Barbara milked more cows than I did. I was the one with the pitchfork cleaning the manure up. But for us we enjoyed that, it was a working holiday,” said Edwin.

Off farm, Barbara is a board member with the Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission and Conservation Learning Centre.

Edwin hopes to retire at age 60 and will increase the farm’s acreage, if the children return.

“Every farmers dream is to have their son farm … but they have to make their own decision … farming it’s a business but it’s really a lifestyle,” said Edwin.

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