Saturday, March 17, 2018

Kernels of Hope

January 24, 2017

It is time to summarize our 2016 Kernels crop!

We had real farms in the 3 Prairie provinces…

The Nelson’s ( Mike and Matt and Lorne) in Wetaskawin of the West had a loooong harvest starting August 13 and ending November 4…  Harvest was like that for many with wet weather in fall being a huge challenge right across the three provinces. The VanBurgsteden’s of Saskatchewan went big with canola for their field and I believe they pulled off their biggest ever Kernels yield…  47 bushels per acre… some years have been too wet in spring but it all came together nicely this year. It graded # 1 ( the Best ) and we got about $430 per tonne for the price. Most farmers still go by $ per bushel. That’s nearly $10 per bu… The $ add up fast!

Steve of West Elton Farms at Brandon got 61 bu per acre of wheat on his 10 acres # 1 CWRS 14.7 protein makes for the best quality you can get in wheat! Ron VanHeyst with Earls help got 324 bushels of wheat on their 6 acre Kernels field… That’s the field that is geographically enhanced for me… right on the highway I drive to work on. Tim and Heidi at Justice did 10 acres of Invigor 252 canola and it ran an incredible 64 bushels per acre… some of that went for $10.75 per bushel. The Tomoniko’s of Franklin grew Clearfield Nexera which is the highest value per bu canola! Jim and Sandy of Rapid City went from long time virtual farmers to real farmers for Kernels this year and also grew canola. It had the thickest swath you can imagine! I’ve included a picture of their swath.

With all the money coming in from across the country from Virtual Farmers and Global Affairs Canada this years Kernels resulted in $295,000! My eyes leak when I think of what we have done as a team once again. This money goes to the World Relief Canada account of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to assist our friends in the Congo to buy seeds and tools and produce better crops for themselves… improving nutrition and health for them and their families.

We made a Difference! If we could walk a mile in their shoes (or lack of same) we would have an idea of truly how big that difference is.

Thank you so much if you were any part of our Kernels team this year.

What time is it? It’s time to start planning how to help again this year!

We are looking forward to Growing again in 2017!   Stay Tuned.

If you want to go see more pictures on the Blog…

Gotta Grow and Gotta Go,

Ray the Grain Guy


October 5, 2016

Kernels fields are harvested! The wet weather slowed things down across the prairies and only allowed some people to finish their harvest before this weeks downpour! It was really widespread and included snow in areas too!

Not all of our crops are delivered to the elevators yet but so far everything has yielded well…  Prices are just okay… The Van B’s in Saskatchewan just finished the canola and it looks like it ran 47 bu per acre. That is a better crop this year as we have struggled with excess rain in past years there… The Borley’s canola had a bit of hail but still ran better than canola they have raised there before… The Tomoniko’s canola near Neepawa was Nexera and yielded really well… Ron’s wheat close to my elevator in Brandon did close to 50 bu per acre. Tim and Heidi still have their green thumb at Justice and the Marvin’s of Brandon went with both quality and quantity! Haven’t heard from The Nelson’s at Malmo but they are always growing good crops there! I will work on the total numbers in the next month or two.

We can still use some help from you Virtual farmers that may not have had a chance to send in any contributions this year… once the costs are covered anything above and beyond is still matched 4 to 1 by the Government! We are helping people in the Malio area of North Kivu in the Congo to grow their own food and it is working!

Thanks so much to all real or virtual farmers that have been able to work as such an efficient team making such an incredible difference!

Gotta run,

Ray the Grain Guy


August 10, 2016

We are living on the edge! The edge of Harvest in the prairies! Some winter wheat, field peas and rye has come off in the Brandon area… the elevators are empty and ready to fill up and get started loading the new crop into rail cars! There is potential for a huge crop now. When crops look good to people they also look good to diseases! The wetter it is as the kernels form the more chance of any number of diseases. Weather conditions like rain hail and wind also can be our biggest enemy from now until the grain is harvested. Check the blog for more pictures and short stories…

Ray in Ron VanHeyst's Wheat

The Borleys and the Tomonikos have joined as real farmers in Western Manitoba this year and their crops are looking spectacular… The picture above is me checking the wheat at Ron VanHeyst’s! It could be labelled… Outstanding in his field but really I’m standing in your field if you have been able to help as a virtual farmer in anyway this year… if you are still wanting to help this year go to the kernels blog and you will see the info on the top right…

Click on

This year we are again helping people in the Congo through World Relief Canada and the Canadian Food Grains Bank to grow better crops for themselves…

Stay tuned for Harvest updates!

Ray the Grain Guy


February 7, 2016

A natural progression… seeds to rows to pods to row of pods…

Kernels of Hope for 2015 is complete! We still have the Johnson Tween Lakes Farms wheat at Hyas to deliver but we aren’t in a rush with that one because of the current low wheat price… We had 44 acres of Harvest wheat there that yielded 1700 bushels….

Gerald and Darla put in 50 acres of wheat and it ran 55 bushels per acre…  The weather was much better there this year than some recent soggy years…

Tim & Heidi Penner raised 528 bushels of wheat that has nice high protein of 14.9! It also had 14.9 moisture which is a little tough but the nice elevator didn’t deduct anything for that…

Ron VanHeyst with the help of Earl of VR Farms got 300 bushels of canola or 50 bushels per acre on the small field north of my elevator… 50 is great and the price was greater at $12.15 per bushel. Most guys didn’t get that high!

Grant & Heather Jardine raised 500 bushels of Cardale wheat on 10 acres… Their farm has been in the family 138 years so they have had lots of time to develop that green thumb!

West Elton rounded out the Kernels Harvest by raising $3200 of wheat on 10 acres…  The Nelsons of Wetaskiwin grew a good crop of canola for us this year… drought stayed away from that field!

We had other anonymous donations of crops as well as so many of you Virtual Farmers contributing towards the expenses that when you put it all together with the Canadian government matching money we as a group will have created about $225,000 CDN to help our friends in North Kivu of the Democratic Republic of Congo through World Relief Canada and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. We have helped them improve Cassava, Banana and Vegetable production… Conservation Agriculture and Livestock distrbution and animal health education were some of the keys to helping…

The Kernels Team recently received a heartfelt thank you letter from Eric of World Relief Canada that says it all better than I could… some of what Eric wrote follows… “It’s been a partnership measured in meals eaten, harvests gathered, lives saved, tomorrows experienced, hopes restored and Kingdom impact”.

Thanks so much if you were able to help out in anyway in 2015… Making a Difference every single day for people…


Ray the Grain Guy


October 12, 2015

It’s all coming together! Our real farmers have been working hard and often battling the weather conditions but things are coming together. We often had rain when it wasn’t wanted especially this fall when the crop was ready to harvest. Some say it builds character… I know though when we put it all together every year it builds families and better lives for them… Building Hope….

Tween Lakes at Hyas have the Kernels wheat done… they just finished harvest this week… Gerald and Darla of Kinistino had better weather this year and pulled off a sweet 55 bushels per acre of wheat on their 50 acres designated to Kernels! Ron VanHeyst with Earl of VR Farm’s help grew a whopper of a canola crop getting 50 bushels per acre on his 6 Kernels acres. Some fortunate marketing got $12.15 per bushel for those 300 bushels…. Canola is usually $10/bu the past 2 years. $12.15 is at the top of any price in that time. Grant of Jardine Farms has 500 bushels of wheat ready to come to market from his 10 acres…. Grant had good quality wheat using his green thumb for others too! Steve and Loni of West Elton Farms at Brandon have been real Kernels farmers longer than anyone and they will be hauling soon. Their friends Tim and Heidi Penner from Justice ( the most appropriate address for Kernels possible) brought in 528 bushels of wheat from their Kernels field. Don’t forget that the federal Govt  matches much of our produce 4 to 1, so 528 bushels is 2640 bu! Go back and work out the canola at Rons with this formula… Making a difference one kernel at a time. No news yet from Prairie Soils at Norquay but there will be good things happening there as always… The Nelson’s of Alberta will also let us know how the crop was there… drought? maybe, maybe not!

If you were wanting to help this year to fund our Malio project that helps to improve food production and consumption for 600 farming families from 8 villages in Beni Territory, North Kivu Province in the DR Congo… its not too late…. if you or anyone in your family history has ever been really hungry you’ll know that waiting till next year isn’t a good option… Stay tuned for the years wrap up!

Many Thanks & Blessings,

Ray the Grain Guy


August 29, 2015

Greetings Fellow Farmers,

The End of August has brought harvest on faster than planned! The heat has been turned on making happy farmers and happy crops in the Eastern Prairies. Around Brandon we have a good start… The Marvin’s West Elton wheat will be done now with Jardine and Penner crops nearly in the bin… Norquay has a bit slower start but the Johnsons are working steady to bring it in! … Prices are still pretty good… canola is around $10.50 / bushel now and wheat is just over $6. There is a huge supply of wheat in the world now so they say it is holding the price down… even with the huge supply it still doesn’t mean that everyone has enough food when they need it… close your eyes and think of your biggest problem every day… if it is “where will I get tomorrows food” I would be very surprised! Thanks so much for helping to ease that concern for thousands of people in the Congo this year…

Please go to the blog to see more updates and pictures of what’s happening at Kernels as well as an exciting new launch that Kernels was contagious in helping start Grow Hope at Artel Farms at Niverville south of Winnipeg. Cindy Klassen the Olympic Speed Skater has become a virtual farmer to help people!

You can also find the address for sending farming money in at the site. If you haven’t had a chance to do that yet … Its not too late…

Gotta run!
Blessings from the Grain Guy


August 6, 2015

The crops are getting better and better in most of the prairies… much needed rain has come to most of the Kernels fields and what looked like a fair to middling crop is now looking like it has great potential. Prices are still hanging on for canola around the $11/bu mark… partly because of the dry start to the crop and worry over a small yield. Wheat prices have been sagging and are around the $6/bu mark presently… a little bit was harvested this week and showed excellent quality with good protein of 14 %… the higher your protein the more money you get!

Things have changed at Norquay this year where we have had super support from Hudye Soil Services over the years through their Helping Feed the World initiative. Well the Hudyes have sold the Crop Inputs business and it is now Prairie Soil Services! I was so pleased to find that they were considering others all through the transition and Prairie Soil Services will continue to a huge partner of ours… I was able to go to Norquay to the annual Field of Dreams crop tour at the end of July and see some new innovations in growing crops and able to speak to everyone there about Kernels enlisting real farmers to help us help the people in the Congo.

I would like to introduce a new real farmer for Kernels for 2015. Grant Jardine of Jardine Farms Ltd. Grant is not new to farming as his family farm has been passed on for generations. All the while growing food for people around the world. He is also not new to Kernels of Hope and the CFGB! He was able and pleased to help Andrew Dennis harvest his canola Kernels field in 2009 and he has been a supporter all along. He is always promoting the program to farmers in the area.

There is more to see at the Kernels Blog: There is also a picture on the blog of a big machine digging dirt in the VanHeyst Kernels Canola field… Its not for the heavy crop its really doing maintenance on the pipeline below. I think a pipeline is a really good comparison to all of us… It works quietly and all the time getting supplies to places in need with most people being totally unaware of what is going on!

If you haven’t yet sent any farming money in and you would like to… make a cheque to ECCC  write Kernels on the bottom note line and mail it to Box 23117    RPO McGillvray    Winnipeg, Manitoba  R3T 5S3
Grow with us in 2015 !

Till Next time,

Ray The Grain Guy


June 22, 2015

Our Kernels fields in the Prairies got off to early starts for the most part. But early turned into late for some… frost killed off lots of canola if it was up and out of the ground in the east side of the Prairies. Cereal crops like wheat seemed to survive pretty well. Extreme dry weather in the West meant that canola which is seeded very shallow and not always down to the moisture was very slow to start… Flea beetles who like to chew holes in the canola leaves were happily eating any canola plants they could find! They can cause huge damage until the plants can get larger and outgrow the beetles damaging appetites. Wheat started fine in the west too and even if the soil is pretty dry it can set its roots deeper to reach moisture which is very good for later in its life. Just like people!

We have added a new Kernels real farmer this year. Hudye Soil Services who have been such a large supporter of Kernels by quarterbacking and connecting the producers near Norquay in the Helping Feed the World initiative have passed the torch on to Prairie Soils… Parker and the crew are up for the challenge of helping our friends in the Congo to produce more food for their families this year… We have great potential of making a huge difference again for people in need… We are suggesting $200 per acre if you want to be a virtual farmer and pay some of the costs of our real farmers this year… more or less is also fine… it adds up so fast and then literally grows! Send me a note if you want the address for donating…

The adventure continues!

Grow with us in 2015!

Ray The Grain Guy


March 15, 2015

This is the way our Kernels Fields looked for much of the winter… Most of the Prairies look like this every winter for awhile… The hard working, good producing field takes a rest… it pulls up a nice white winter blanket of snow over its soil bed and looks like its doing nothing…

Under that blanket there are still good things happening! Some diseases and bad insects get stopped dead and eliminated in the winter in our Canadian Climate… Nutrition is being created from the breakdown of organic material like grain straw. Everything is getting ready for the warmth of spring sun and rains to wake up the soil and take the snow blanket off and get producing crops for the worlds 7 Billion people!

Farmers and virtual farmers usually pay less attention to the field during the winter but there are plans being made for getting the right combination of seed, nutrition, crop protection products, equipment and weather to get the most out of that field we can. An acre in Canada can now feed about 120 people. Wow! As I have thought recently… There are many important vocations… doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants… We need all of them at times but how often do we need farmers? Every single day!

Thanks to our real farmers for thinking about being a real farmer for Kernels this year and thanks for thinking about being a Virtual Farmer this year. We need all of you for helping people in the Congo get their food production in growing…  Grow With Us!

If you want to learn more, check the ECCC, World Relief Canada or Canadian Food Grain Bank websites.

Ray The Grain Guy


January 21, 2015

Its like the wheat is waving good bye to the 2014 grain growing season. Many farmers are happy to do the same. It was a rough year for weather in many areas! Same with Grain Prices! We survived the adversity quite well though. Having fields in each Prairie Province almost always allows us to have at least some fields in areas with good crop growing weather. All of our crops have now made it to market and been turned into money. Helping Feed the World at Norquay was again one of our biggest contributors by gathering $18,500 worth of crops for Kernels from their group. WOW.

We didn’t do as well as 2013 but I still talk to farmers that say they will never in their lives have a better crop than that year. Tim Penner who has one of our Kernels fields near Brandon said that he always picks a different field for his Kernels plot and it always turns out to be his best crop!

This year we (together) were able to raise $322,000 after all expenses and after the Cdn Government match. It will be used by the Canadian Food Grains Bank and World Relief Canada to finish off our project in North Kivu of the Congo. We have helped them so much growing crops by supplying seed and tools and some training. They have been successful at raising Irish Potatoes too!

On behalf of the people of the Congo, World Relief Canada, CFGB, ECCC and especially me, we say thank you for being a real and or a virtual farmer in helping create Hope where there was often none. Stay tuned for plans for a project (likely in the Congo) to help with again as we Grow again in 2015. I heard a quote recently saying “You can’t take money with you when you die, but, you can send it ahead.” This is a very good way of doing that!

Thanks again!

Ray The Grain Guy


October 18, 2014

The Crops are finding their way to the bins and to their markets. The Prairie crops are about 90% done as of today and that’s about the same for the Kernels of Hope crops.

The canola prices have slid down because of a World record Soybean crop being harvested both in the states and across the world. The Soybeans are used for many of the same uses as canola is and there are a lot more acres of soybeans in the US than Canola in Canada.

Canola is about $9 per bushel now and wheat is getting about $6/bu.

Tim Penner got the canola and Ron got the wheat delivered to my elevator, Kendell got the wheat into the elevator at Melfort… Things are coming together!

The weather was not very cooperative for many this year… some would say it wasn’t a normal year… but some would also say there is no normal anymore! Just put yourself into the shoes of the people in the Congo who we are helping. Maybe we can increase their normal expectations… I know we can!

If you were able to help us with farming expenses this year already… thanks very much! If you were thinking about it and forgot… it’s not too late… Go to the Kernels blog and see some updates and the address will be there on the top right corner on how to help…

Stay tuned for more updates on the harvest.

Till next time,

Ray The Grain Guy


September 3, 2014

Kernels Crops are being swathed! This is Rock and Nicole’s Kernels field at Norquay. Putting the canola into nice symmetric rows to cure the seed with weather.

Getting the seed mature and dry enough to harvest and store. 10% moisture content in the seed can be delivered as dry to most elevators. If it’s wetter than that you need to dry it down on your farm. A lot of hot air works wonders sometimes!

Check the blog at to see more.

The results of our farming together through Kernels to end hunger in the Congo will be starting to show with each turn of the combine wheels. Put your work gloves on and stay tuned!


Ray The Grain Guy


July 15, 2014

The crops are coming along fine… although some are struggling with too much water. See the Rainbow on the Kernels site!

We are now in a race with the fall season… hoping for harvest before frost… that is definitely the right order for this to happen! Canola prices are hanging on very well… partly because of so many spindly looking wet canola fields out there. We could get $10.25 per bushel if we set the price now for fall delivery… We better wait to see if the bushels roll out!

Wet seasons also bring a higher chance of crop diseases … many diseases thrive in the damp environment. Some of it can be controlled but it would be great to get the fields dried out for awhile!

If you have already been able to help as a Virtual Farmer contributing to the costs of the crops incurred by our real farmers thank you! The people in North Kivu of the Congo also thank you more than you will ever know!

It’s never too late to “Grow with us”. If you want to see more and or find out how to donate this year, check the Kernels site by clicking the link…

These pictures are of Rock and Nicole’s canola in Norquay, and Gerald and Darla’s canola in Kinistino… stay tuned!

Ray The Grain Guy


June 9, 2014

Green As Grass!

This is our wheat at the Van Heyst’s just north of Brandon. It is in nice rows and is short as and green as grass!

We don’t want to take the lawn mower out there now though.

We want to nurture that crop… Supplying good nutrition… which is also good for people… Hoping to get it the right amount of water… also very good for people… Controlling the weeds… not good for people to have too much wild oats either… Hoping no crazy weather events knock it down or drown it… definitely not good for people!… Hoping the crop grows to a normal maturity… maturity is wonderful in people! Well some things we can control and some things we can’t. Knowing the difference is often half the battle.

Stay tuned as we grow the crop that will help us help the people of the Congo in so many ways…

Lots more fields to report on…

Ray The Grain Guy


December 31, 2013

Agriculture is a long word for taking chances! Agriculture almost anywhere makes the farmer make decisions based on relatively unknown upcoming circumstances… Weather and markets, labour and input costs are all often unpredictable. Around the world people continue to take those chances every year. Without those risk takers we would be a very hungry world!

Much of the Canadian Prairies this year went through spring with crops with slow and spotty germination… Everyone was holding their breath hoping for improvements… The prices were high but how much yield would we get? As early summer hit we found that the crops got better and better! By the harvest time many farmers often found the biggest bushels of their lives flowing into the combines! Story after story of humungous yields were told! Many of our crops were fantastic in yield and low in disease!

The normal process for our Kernels of Hope fields is to price and deliver the grain as soon as it is harvested. That happened again and that was also a blessing for the project. People that waited to deliver or to price saw one of the biggest price slides ever in the grain markets at the same time as many of the grain elevators began to max out on the number of bushels they could even buy!

Things worked out for us this year! The project that we are raising crops and funds for in North Kivu in the Congo will get approximately $447,000 through our partnerships with World Relief Canada and the Canadian Food Grains Bank and the Canadian Government. Wow!

Thank you so much to the real farmers that make this all possible, the Marvin’s, the Van Heyst’s, the Penner’s, the Arndt’s, the VanBurgsteden’s, the Nelson’s, the Olson’s, and others, and to the producers helping through Hudye’s “Helping Feed the World” initiative, and thanks to the Virtual Farmers like you for supporting Kernels of Hope paying for the expenses!

We also pass on thanks from the people benefiting in the Congo…  helping others feed themselves… one kernel at a time. Just for one minute trade shoes with those you are helping and you may get a glimpse of the magnitude of the effects of your help! We have been blessed so that we can bless others.

A year to remember… If you want to see some pictures and posts from the year click on this and it will take you to the blog

If you want to learn more about the Canadian Food Grains Bank or World Relief Canada, google them and you will find them quickly.

Till next time,

Ray The Grain Guy


August 10, 2013

CanolaThe summer has been cool so far… the crops have good yield potential but cool and damp conditions can he bad for people and can also cause disease in crops… Hard to see much damage yet in the Manitoba and Saskatchewan crops… they are late though! It is now a race against frost… hot dry second half of August would be grrrreat! Prices are coming down faster than the Blue Bombers this fall but they are always subject to change too!

Just wanted to pass on this letter we got through World Relief Canada that puts our project in perspective. Keeping it real… It’s a testimonial from North Kivu in the Congo:

A widow named N’safari is a member of a farmer’s association in North Kivu to recently receive training in food and financial management. She tells us, “After 15 years of war in our village, all my cattle had been stolen. I was not even able to buy a chicken. But now by selling half of this year’s potatoes, I have been able to buy a goat! I did not believe that I would ever again own a goat, because I am among the poorest people in my village. God Bless World Relief Canada and it’s donors!

We are blessed so that we can bless others… Thanks so much for any part you do in this!

If you want to see a Lemon Pie story and some crop pictures etc click on the link to go to the blog.

Till next time,

Ray The Grain Guy


June 9, 2013

Photo Credit: Ray BalounAnd they are off ! The kernels are in the ground!

Spring was long this year. The Nelsons of Malmo, Alberta got the seed in the ground the earliest and the Manitoba and Saskatchewan fields were a battle to get in.

Rock and Nicole have given us the field just inside the Norquay town limits right near the church so people can keep an eye on it!

The big fields are again in Melfort and Kinistino! The Van Burgsteden’s and the Arndt’s are in big again! They do things big in both Texas and Saskatchewan! The Marvins and Penners have seeded their Kernels fields again right near Brandon, Mb. They are looking good!

The field above is Ron and Fran VanHeyst’s just north of my elevator on # 10 highway. This year it is Canterra 1990 Canola. It is a good Round Up Ready variety. That means you can control all the weeds with Round Up.

Photo Credit: Ray BalounThis was seeded May 23. I took the picture June 3. Now this is a crop that starts off small. The seed is about the size of the end of my pen and the green plant you see has very humble small beginnings but a great future to look forward to!

If it survives hungry flea beetles (they munch on the leaves like a smorgasborg at times leaving the leaves looking like they have had a fight with a shotgun)… if the plant survives frost both early in its life at anytime before maturity… if it survives weather issues like too much or too little rain or wind or even the chance of hail … if it does all that then it will grow into a big plant maybe 3 feet tall with many many pods full of canola seeds ( skinny looking pea pods ). That plant will then team up with other canola plants in the field and other Kernels fields and real farmers and virtual farmers just like you, to go a long ways toward helping people in desperate need in the Congo!

We will once again be farming and partnering with World Relief Canada and the Canadian Food Grains Bank and the CDN government to help buy seed and tools and training for farmers in the Congo. They are making progress… real progress towards helping themselves help feed their families.

Grow with us again in 2013 and stay tuned for updates!

There will be updates on the blog and by email.

If you can farm with us this year please send a suggested $200 per acre for crop input costs to ECCC
(write Kernels in the note line at the bottom of the cheque ) and mail to:

PO Box 34025 RPO Fort Richmond
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3T 5T5

Till next time,

Ray The Grain Guy


2012 Summary

It was an exciting year for Agriculture… So many changes in Canada including the changes in the CWB! The US had a drought and that got all the grain prices going… In much of the prairies it was hot but the prices were hotter! The average farmer in the prairies got a great volume of wheat with excellent quality and a low volume of canola. It was a good quality though! For grain that was priced right during harvest and for awhile after the $ per bushel were terrific! Physical grain movement was no problem either… The Kernels crops in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta along with all the support from virtual farmers returned huge benefits again in 2012 and sooooo many people in the Congo will be soooooooo pleased as they get helped with seed and know how and tools so they can produce food for themselves and their familes and neighbourhood! Just imagine the difference that our joint effort thru working with ECCC, World Relief Canada, and the Canadian Food Grains Bank! The $82,000 we cleared after expenses gets matched at a rate of 4 to 1 by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) which means we can forward at least $410,000 this year!

Photo Credit: Ray Baloun

Thank you to the real farmers, The Arndts, Marvins, VanHeysts, Kowbels, Maziers, Ungers, Pankratz’s Penners, Tiedes, VanBurgstedens and the Helping Feed the World group and the virtual farmers from the bottom of my heart and from WRC and especially from the people in the Congo. The change we are helping is true change that has the potential to put many people on their feet for more than one generation! This project continues to amaze and to humble me with the support that we draw together for such a worthy cause. Thank you again!

We will farm again in 2013! Stay tuned …

Ray The Grain Guy


September 2012

Our Kernels of Hope fields are getting harvested! We are done the Marvin’s and VanHeyst’s wheat. The Kowbel’s of Brandon have the Kernels portion in the bin… Tim Penner of Justice hauled his canola already… The Pankratz’s got the canola to the elevator… The Unger’s of Arden Mb, were done early! Things are going great!

The Arndt’s have harvest set for Sept 10 in Melfort. More on others in Alberta and with Helping Feed the World with Hudye’s at Norquay later and you can see more by clicking on this to get to view the blog:

Kernels 2012The prices are high now mainly due to the US drought and some other world wide problems… that gives us more money for the Kernels crops but it also raises food prices in many countries to make it even harder to access for lots of people… we could sure use a little more help on the expenses of this years crop to make sure we can still forward as much as possible to our friends in the Congo… Getting them more seed and tools and fishing equipment!

Let me pass on a thankyou from World Relief Canada on behalf of the people benefitting from the project in the Congo… you are farming if you are helping with the expenses (as virtual farmers) and you are making a big difference. If you didn’t help this year yet… You can go to the ECCC website then to Canada Helps for electronic donations or write a cheque to ECCC and write Kernels on the note line at the bottom of the cheque and mail to:

PO Box 34025 RPO Fort Richmond
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3T 5T5

Thanks so much…

Ray The Grain Guy


July 2012

The canola crops are smiling now! The wheat has been happy since the start… In Manitoba the weather has been great for the wheat but the common comment on canola was that it was very slow developing! The searing heat we had in the past two weeks has dramatically changed that! Places in Eastern Manitoba turned on the canola switch and saw those yellow blooms pop out even earlier than expected… Western Manitoba now has caught up to at least normal and the heat has been balanced with rain at times when it was desperately needed.

Happy canola makes happy farmers and in our case it also makes for happy people in the Congo! I heard recently that hunger can be compared to the worst disease except that we are really able to help with the cure by helping with emergency food when needed but even better by supplying some seed, tools and knowledge to the people of North Kivu so they can produce more of their own crops and fish to help themselves… Healthy bodies can also do so much more to help than malnourished people that just have to fight for survival.

Just a note on a few of our farms here in Canada… The canola potential yield is looking good just north of Brandon… Kowbel’s, Pankratz’s, Mazier’s and Penner’s will all be wanting to haul the Kernels canola because they will need more bin space for their other crops this year. It is all in full bloom… Great things are happening in Saskatchewan too… more on that next time.

Much of the Prairies is bright yellow this year as more canola acres than ever were seeded. The prices of canola are also at all time highs… Big yields and big prices on the same year? Who knows? That is not a common occurence to have both at the same time! Things are coming along fine… If you are farming with us by having sent in your donation to cover the crop input expenses to become a virtual farmer already that is great. If you are still thinking about it there is time!

Cheques should be made to ECCC (just write Kernels on the bottom note line of the cheque) and can be sent to ECCC Box 34025 RPO Fort Richmond, Winnipeg, MB   R3T5T5

You can also become a virtual farmer on line. Just go to

Feel free to forward this to those who may also want to help .

Got to Grow now,

Ray The Grain Guy


May 2012

Check the Kernels blog and you’ll see a picture of return Kernels farmers the VanHeyst’s wheat field! They are growing 6 acres of hard red spring wheat for us this year. It is just over a mile to the elevator when it is ready to harvest. It is close to a market but there has to be a lot happen before then!

Soon the crop will be big enough that the weeds will need to be sprayed… leaving only the good stuff! The good stuff is Carberry wheat. It is one of the best bread quality wheats in the world. If we were to set the price now we’d get about $7.25/bushel. We hope to harvest over 50 bushels per acre… IF, the weather is favourable from start to finish, IF no disease comes, IF insects don’t attack, IF is one of the farmers’ favourite words. IF it works out we will be able to help so many people in the Congo get the proper nutrition through helping buy them seed and tools and providing training and at times emergency food rations.

The crop is barely visible in the picture on the blog… how could it help? It has huge potential and will do its best to survive and thrive. Just like people when given half a chance. We have started planting and gathering funds to pay for those crops. If you can help, gather some friends and gather some funds and send them to:

Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada
Box 34025 RPO Fort Richmond
Winnipeg, MB
R3T 5T5

Just write Kernels on the note line on the bottom of the cheque and we’d love to send you a donation receipt.

Each dollar raised through farming and surplus donations (after the input costs are covered) gets forwarded to World Relief Canada for the Canadian Food Grains Bank. The Canadian Government throws in $4 for each $1 we raise! Making a huge difference to about 4,000 people in North Kivu County of the Congo this year.

Grow with us!

Ray The Grain Guy


2011 Summary

Photo Credit: Ray BalounThis year on Dec 23rd we got our final numbers in for Kernels of Hope.

We banded together across the country and even some of our neighbours south of the 49th parallel to join in raising crops to help people in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa.

You likely know that we have been helping these people in this war torn country resettle onto their farmland through helping them attain seed and tools and even fishing equipment so they can once again feed their families and get some extra income to better their lives.

The Hudyes of Norquay have been a huge supporter of this project through their unique project called “Helping Feed The World”. This project adds to our virtual farming theme by having actual producers in their area designate the whole production of 10 acres of crop to Kernels of Hope. The crops in many areas were average at best this year but in the Norquay area things were great! Big bushels multiplied by big prices and backed up by big hearts equal an amazing addition once again to Kernels!

The Hudyes are very committed to making a difference this way and they challenged their good friends in Burlington, Colorado to have some producers help out too! They came through big time!

When we add all the components of Kernels together this year, Benefit Projects like the “Wide Open Spaces” Musical by Neelin High School in Brandon, The Ugly Sweater, the Real farmers growing real crops for the donors or the virtual farmers, real farmers donating actual grain to World Relief Canada through the CFGB on behalf of Kernels and the wonderful enthusiasm and funds from “Helping Feed the World” we have raised $100,000 this year! That is a record in our 7 year history!

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is matching those funds $4 for every $1 we raise. That makes a total of $500,000 for our project in the Congo this year. What a benefit it will be to the people of the Congo. What a Christmas present for me to find this out at this time of year. For my part the giving of time and resources to this project has come back to me as blessings many times over just by having the privelege to farm with all of you and to make a difference that can last for generations. We are truly blessed in North America. Thanks so much for farming in what ever fashion you did this year if you were able … We are going to farm again in 2012!

Stay tuned for how we can once again turn something little like a seed into a life changing program for them and for us! Grow with us again!

If you want to see more of what happened this year go to

Blessings in 2012!

Ray The Grain Guy


September 2011

Kendell and Ray in the FieldWe have had good progress in harvesting our crops this week!

Kernels of Hope is looking good once again!

The Tiede’s harvested peas in Strathmore, Ron and Fran harvested the canola at Brandon, it ran 31 bu / acre and is already in my elevator! Steve and Lonnie Marvin got the wheat in the bin, it was #1 and went between 40 and 45 bu / acre.

The weather in spring made the outlook for healthy and bountiful crops very dim. Things improved as they went…  you never know what’s coming next in farming!

I had a chance to go to Melfort this past week and saw the wheat at the Vanburgstedens and the Arndt’s canola….  the wheat is looking super and the canola has some spots drowned out in the downpour earlier. Neither one is in the bin yet and like I said, anything can happen in farming! The Norquay area was blessed with very good weather this year… we anxiously await reports from there as to how harvest will pan out.

Prices are great too. That helps us raise more money but it also can translate into making food in countries of need like the Congo more expensive and that puts it just out of reach for many people.

Please check the blog by clicking on this to see recent pictures, stories and thoughts on how we are progressing this year. If you forgot to send any money to help farm this year it is not too late! Address and info is on the top right corner of the blog.

Thanks so much for your time and thoughts and prayers in our excellent adventure!

Ray The Grain Guy

Kernels of Hope

August 2011

Canadian Foodgrains Bank SignCanola is in many stages in the prairies now! The longer the crop flowers the more seeds will be formed… with the crazy wet spring in the east things are in various % of bloom. Some has even completed setting seed and has been swathed!

Check out the website link below for pictures of the Van Heyst canola and some of the Field of Dreams Day at Hudye’s in Norquay.

Crop prices have been dropping as harvest nears and financial problems are plagueing governments and stock markets. The commodity prices are still healthy compared to most other years.

It remains to be seen how the North American harvests will produce. Many unknowns as always. One thing we do know is that the prices of food in many countries to the people who are most vulnerable have been climbing. Imagine having food in sight but not being able to afford it. That happens more and more these days.

Thank you so much for any help you have been able to provide people in need . If you haven’t sent in any Kernels farming money for this year… It is not too late! Click on the website link below for updates and info on how to help!

Gotta go!

Ray The Grain Guy

Canola for Canadian Foodgrains BankThe USA grows Soybeans … Canada grows Canola!
They both produce oil and animal feed when processed.
Canola is much more colorful though!
About 40% of the seed of canola is oil.

May 2011

Ray Baloun Are you ready to farm with us again this year? If you have been farming with us at Kernels of Hope previously you are invited to farm again in 2011. If you have already contributed this year thanks SO much! You are ahead of the curve! Kernels of Hope allows you to farm virtually… You contribute tax deductible funds to allow me to find several real farmers and pay their input costs and grow crops. Those crops then belong to Kernels of Hope and are given to the Canadian Food Grains Bank through World Relief Canada (WRC). The federal government branch CIDA, then matches the funds we create from real farming at a rate of 4 to 1…. Then WRC works with a partner in North Kivu, Congo and carries out projects that support locals in the Congo who have returned to their land after conflicts to farm on their own again. We are able to provide seed and tools to help them on their way to self sufficiency again!

We have real farmers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba that have been stalled by the cold weather and the wet fields but they are chomping at the bit to get some seed in the ground. I’ll give more info on the fields and farmers as we go!  I still need a few confirmations back… Mostly we will be growing canola and wheat… Prices look great this year…

I have the blog up and running where you can check out the big picture every once in awhile just click on that and it will take you directly there!

If you can help, please write a cheque to ECCC and write Kernels on the note line.

You can mail it to…

Box 34025
RPO Fort Richmond
Winnipeg, MB  R3T 5T5

Or if you don’t like cheques you can go to the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada website and give online thru Canada Helps. Either way you’ll get a tax receipt.

We suggest it will cost $200 an acre to get a crop in the ground this year.  If you can do a portion of an acre or a whole acre or multiple acres it is all so very welcome and it makes such an incredible difference! I’ll send crop updates to you through out the season and show you some of what happens in this wide world of Agriculture! I will also fill you in on the project in North Kivu as we go. Helping Feed the World is getting bigger this year again and is another way for real farmers to participate. Some Farmers have been designating the entire proceeds from 10 acres for Kernels and increasing our produce tremendously!

You can check the blog to see how we Student sized an acre for $20.11 …missing a few Timmies and a show can get you $20.11 to turn into $40 by farming, then into $200 by matching CIDA funds! Multiplication at its very best! We started this at Neelin High Schools musical “Wide Open Spaces” last month.

How ever you choose to help… (even by forwarding this to someone you think would be interested) Please… Grow with us!

Ray The Grain Guy

Ray's Blog for Kernels of Hope

Contact Ray at (204) 867-5341 or email Ray!