How were the Interior Plains formed?
The Interior Plains were formed when soils near rivers and lakes from the Canadian Shield were deposited and Sedimentary rock were formed horizontally from these deposits, resulting in large areas of flat land, river valleys, and rolling hills. This flat land and rich soil is perfect for farming and agriculture, which is why the majority of Canada's food comes from the Interior Plains.
What is Farming's Importance to Canada?
Within Canada, wheat is the most important crop grown. It has several uses, including flour for baked goods and pasta, and feed for livestock. Almost half of all Canada's wheat is grown in Saskatchewan, which is part of the Interior Plains. In fact it's grown over about 10 million hectares! On top of this, Canada is the world's sixth-largest producer and one of the largest exporters of wheat, annually producing an average of over 25 million tonnes and exporting around 15 million tonnes.
Above is a video by CropLifeCanada, interviewing a farmer in Saskatchewan, answering the questions: How important is wheat in Canadadian agriculture? How do you grow wheat? How many loaves of bread does the wheat you grow make? Where else in the world is the wheat exported to? And what happens when the wheat is ready to be taken off the field?
Exporting and Trade
After the United Kingdom, the United States is Canada's largest external trade partner. Between 1943 and 1953, the average export of Canadian wheat was 347,200,000 bushels (9,449,000 t). The three year International Wheat Agreement of 1955, which really lasted 6 years, included exports of wheat or flour to 28 of 44 importing countries including Germany, Japan, Belgium, UK, and the Netherlands.
How is the Wheat Processed?
Mill operators pass the wheat through automated steel cylinders or crush the wheat with grinding stones to separate the bran, endosperm and germ. Water makes the inner endosperm softer and hardens the outer bran so that the two parts are easier to separate. Usually, mill workers use a roller to flatten the wheat germ before sifting out the remaining flour.
Above is a video showing the separation in a grain mill between the two different kinds of grain once it's processed.
What are the problems with Canada's Agriculture?
An Article by The Globe and Mail states the problems in this industry perfectly: "Almost any farmer will recite a litany of concerns - misguided government programs, the soaring Canadian dollar, outdated tax measures and regulations that are 10 years behind those of other countries. Many say Canada is stuck in the past, constantly tinkering with income support measures and ad hoc programs while U.S. farmers leap ahead in productivity, and producers in Australia, Argentina, Chile and Ukraine push aggressively into new markets."
"When you really look at it, we don't value food in this country, because it has been a land of plenty for so many years," said Neil Currie, general manager of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
What are Some Solutions to Canada's Farming Problem?
1. Establishing a disaster-relief program: The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has proposed a plan that would aid individual farmers whose incomes had fallen below an average calculated on the basis of the past few years.
2. Creating a level playing field: Some farmers claim that the amount of federal subsidies paid to them, especially in the grain-growing sector, is far less than that received by their U.S. or European competition. Farmers are urging federal trade negotiators to push for a more equitable grant allowance schedule to be agreed upon by all major agricultural exporting countries.
3. Loosening banking rules: Many farmers are facing bankruptcy unless their creditors are willing to renegotiate their existing debt or extend further loans to cover current and future losses of income.Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief is asking the banks to be more easy going.