Photostory #402A: Canada: The Rich Earth
National Film Board of Canada
November 2, 1965
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
Stretching in a vast fertile horseshoe between the great sweep of the Precambrian shield in the east, the towering Rocky Mountains in the west and the sub-arctic forests to the north, lies Canada's famous wheat-growing region. Bigger than the whole of France and still growing, this massive expanse of uninterrupted farmland has again yielded a fine harvest of more than 700 million bushels of wheat, most of it destined for shipment to 50 countries around the globe. With overseas exports expected to reach 600 million bushels during the crop year of 1965-66, surpassing by far the big sales during recent years, Canada's wheat farmers are busier than ever. Fresh land is being broken, yield per acre is increasing, and individual farms themselves are growing larger (to an average of 700 acres), becoming more valuable (with an average worth around $400,000). Across the prairie wheat lands of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 200,000 operating farms are producing annual harvests with a total cash value breaking the $1,000,000,000 mark. Behind this gigantic industry of such vital concern to millions of people throughout the world is the continuing scientific story, stretching back over 60 years, of the development of special wheat varieties to obtain the richest yields from the fertile prairies and the vast organizational story of how the wheat is shipped from farmer to railway, to dockside elevator and its eventual departure on deep-laden ships around the globe. Canada's rolling prairies, which long ago lured hardy settlers with prospects of great wealth from the rich soil, are still fulfilling their promise, with 20,000,000 tons of golden grain this year's proof of Canada's claim to the title-The Rich Earth.