As I was skimming through the headlines of the Lloydminster Times, a front page caption caught my attention, “Two things are growing fast in Lloydminster; wheat and taxes.”
For most citizens, taxes are a reality of life which lends itself towards community infrastructure … enough said.
Wheat on the other hand depicts a topic of conversation lending more towards agriculture with its fields of abundant grain swaying with the prairie breeze and stock calmly grazing in the lush green pasture.
As part of a major industrial sector, agriculture’s importance is more than just harvesting crops from the field and mixed farming operations.
The processing of these natural products including manufacturing, transportation and a sustainable source of employment is as important to our community as agriculture itself.
Farmers require two major natural resources; water and fertile soil.
Without these their land can become a limiting factor in crop production keeping in mind Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate and is oblivious to our needs.
To this mix add in technology providing the potential for even greater success.
How did the pioneer farmers unlock the door to technological progress?
Farmers around the world use a range of equipment and experience differences not only in technology but also in their progress due to various factors.
Somewhere in the world there is planting and harvesting happening in every month of the year due to the diversity of global climates.
Some folks will be using a computerized combine with all the latest bells and whistles; whereas others will be laboriously harvesting by hand using a scythe or sickle underneath the unforgiving hot sun.
About 13 years ago, a group of visitors from Africa were touring the local museum.
While they were walking through the agricultural exhibit with its vintage advertisements, Bain wagon, well-used ploughs and handmade agricultural tools they spoke of how some of these items were currently being used in their daily farming.
I was shocked as these pioneer artifacts were originally used by the Barr Colonists in the early 1900s.
At the time, farming technology didn’t appear to be as accessible as it was for Lloydminster folks.
Lloydminster began as an agricultural community in 1903.
An old Irish proverb says, “You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.”
Lloydminster farmers were and continue to be folks of action and forward thinkers.
Initially, they had little knowledge of farming techniques or even how to harness a team of uncooperative oxen or horses to their wagon or plough.
This changed quickly due to necessity and through hands-on experience often marked by error further fueling the fire underneath their feet.
Helen, our talented “Prairie Wool” columnist has regaled us with tales of country life and her family which so many of us have enjoyed reading.
Her amusing tales have us laughing out loud and have gotten me thinking.
I propose that the pulse of agriculture is essentially the farmer and their family.
They are the backbone of our community and of this growing industry.
We may grow in different directions and yet our roots remain firmly planted on the prairie.
It takes a lot of elements to call a place home.
Recently I had the excitement of driving a restored Massey-Harris tractor.
Together we slowly bounced along the bumpy land and with each turn of the large steering wheel I felt a little bit like a pioneer on the prairie.
Afterwards, as I gazed back at the tractor it made me wonder how vital technology was to our pioneers and how influential this progress was in Lloydminster’s development.
What are your favourite inventions or technological advancements?
Pioneer lists would include the revolutionary automobile, the rotary telephone or perhaps the novelty of talking movies.
Modern lists will consist of internet, cellphones, video games and instant replay during televised hockey games.
We all have the key to unlock a list of items we could not live without as we go about our daily lives.
In reality, Lloydminster’s deep history is a history of people’s ideas.
Blending new technology with hands-on experience and discovering a balance between traditional methods provided Lloydminster pioneers with the “key” to unlock the door on progress and successfully move forward.