Proceeds from the Feb. 2 sale of 11 calves at the Olds Auction Mart will benefit people in other countries who need food and help.
This year’s sale is the third time Al Rand of Bowden, Alta., has organized and contributed volunteer labour to the Cows for Grain project, part of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s charitable efforts.
The calves will be sold in several lots, and Rand is hopeful they will raise $10,000 to $12,000. As with the foodgrains bank’s growing projects, the federal government provides a four to one match of the funds raised.
“We’re really looking forward to the sale,” said Rand.
“People around the community, they’ve donated hay, they’ve donated trucking, they’ve donated help, and so it has expanded in our immediate area and we have really appreciated what people have done.”
Cows in the project were initially purchased by the Canadian Baptist Ministries, one of the partners in the foodgrains bank Christian response to hunger. Rand keeps the cows on his farm, doing the feeding and calving. Calves from those cows are then sold and proceeds provided to the CFB.
Rand said he would like to see more farmers and ranchers across Canada participate in Cows for Grain projects because there are many people in need internationally and the CFB does good work.
“They not only feed the people but they teach them regenerative, sustainable agriculture,” he said. “It isn’t that you keep feeding the same people year after year after year and nothing happens. People are learning and helping themselves.”
Rand has a sign on his fence facing Secondary Road 587 west of Bowden that advertises the Cows for Grain project and the foodgrains bank. It has attracted some attention but more is welcome, he said.
There were about 200 CFB growing projects across Canada this year, in which farmers donate the proceeds from crop sales. Cattle projects are far less common, but are a way for livestock producers to participate.
“What I like about it is, it’s a Canadian thing. You might say it’s all of Canada chipping in to help,” Rand said about farmers’ charitable projects through CFB.
All his land is in pasture, so raising some additional cattle works well.
“I’m just really happy to do this. I enjoy the cattle so much. It’s not work to me. It’s almost relaxation. I just enjoy it a lot,” he said.
Rand added that Olds Auction Mart has been supportive of the project, and auctioneers will be promoting the charitable endeavour at sale time.