Value Adding Important Part Of The Package

erard and Marie DeRuyck decided it was time to find a different way to farm in 2000 after spending buckets of money to seed, spray and harvest – only to have yields decimated by fusarium.

The following year Gerard broke up 25 acres of pasture and sowed oats, sans synthetic inputs.

Their son Dan and daughter-in-law Fran soon followed suit, beginning to transition their mixed farm to organic in 2004.

Right off the bat, the families saw the potential to create Manitoba-grown organic products too.

Today value-added products off both generations of DeRuycks’ farms are widely sought, including a cold-pressed sunflower oil, plus a variety of on-farm milled flours.

“Basically, we try to add value to everything we grow on our farm,” says Dan DeRuyck whose farm includes 500 cultivated acres plus a few acres of pasture.

The DeRuycks have recently paired with an Arborg seed processor and three Manitoba bakeries to launch a value chain for organic sunflower seeds. Prior, the bakeries have been sourcing organic sunflower off-shore.

All is not smooth sailing. Weed pressures – mustard is a tough one – remain challenging and they’d certainly like to rely less on tillage, says Dan. Organic farming can test the most patient of farmers, he says.

“It’s a new way of management and it takes a few years for your land to get back into decent system.

“For myself personally it’s having the patience to do it.”

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