Band Farms Ltd. is a mixed grain farming operation owned and managed by Ochapowace Nation.
In 2009 an analysis was done on farming in Saskatchewan and the opportunities that may exist in the establishment of a band-owned mixed grain farming operation. During this analysis it was also established that Saskatchewan supplies 5% of the world’s total exported wheat and is Canada’s most important grain producing region. Through the TLE and Specific Claim process Ochapowace Nation acquired prime farmland and could be accessed to conduct farming operations. Based on the information gathered, Band Farms was launched as a mixed grain farming operation and secured a lease from Ochapowace Lands Department for the purposes of farming approximately 8000 acres of land.
2012 Project Activities
As with most farming businesses, Band Farms requires a line of credit to maintain a successful operation. The line of credit is secured with Ochapowace Nation lands that are not reserve status. For the 2012 crop production year Band Farms leased approximately 8400 acres of land for their operations. The majority of the lands seeded in 2012 were canola (the second largest crop grown in Saskatchewan), barley and oats. Considering the unforeseeable factors (drought, rain, hail) that Saskatchewan environment is accustom to, the 2012 crop production year for the Farms was successful.
Ken Bear is the Farms Manager and nation members are employed to assist with farming operations, the Economic Development office oversees the complete operations of the business. Currently custom contracting is a huge expense to the Band Farms and we are in the process of exploring costs of purchasing additional machinery and equipment to reduce contracting outside sources and increasing employment of nation members which in turn bring increased revenues.
Monitoring and review of the farming operations takes place throughout the year and any necessary steps continue to be taken to ensure its success and profitability for future years operations.