Agriculture is growing in northern Canada, says Anne Boden
By Diego Flammini
A family from the Northwest Territories is hoping a potato farm is the first step in establishing an agribusiness.
Anne Boden and her husband Peter purchased 48-acres of land from Peter’s parents in Hay River, N.W.T. about six years ago. The property includes a house about five tillable acres, while trees and bushes covered the rest of the land.
Peter grew tired of looking at the uncleared acres and determined to put them to use.
“Last year he decided the land needed to pay for itself,” Anne told Farms.com today. “We decided to farm, and he started to bulldoze down trees and open up land.”
About 25 acres are cleared and ready for potatoes. The Bodens hope to finish planting all 4,000 pounds of seed potatoes this weekend and harvest them by mid-September.
When all 48 acres are in production, Boden Farms will be among the largest commercial operations in the territory.
Neither Anne nor Peter have formal ag training but they are confident they will be able to operate a successful potato farm.
“We know what grows here,” she said. “But it will definitely be a learning process for us.”
The family has already brainstormed ideas for potential business growth.
Those plans include more acres and processing.
“We eventually want to have 300 acres of potatoes growing so we can do a three-year rotation,” Boden said. “We’ve also talked about turning the potatoes into other products for export but we’ll see what happens.”
The new potato farm is an indication of an increased ag presence in the Northwest Territories. Indeed, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership is investing $5.6 million over five years to help the territory’s agricultural industry.
“Agriculture is going to be big in the north,” Boden said.
Anne Boden in front of what will become a potato field.
Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio photo