Off The Beaten Path: International Agriculture | VideoCliff Naylor | 4/30/2012
Dave Rasmussen keeps one foot planted in Montana and another in Saskatchewan when he puts seed in the ground. He`s been raising crops in two countries for over 30 years and is one of a handful of producers who still runs farming operations in both the United States and Canada.
"There aren`t many of us left that farm both sides. Twenty years ago there were a lot of people and since then you`re no longer able to buy land in Saskatchewan, over a 1/2 section," he said.
Dave`s father and uncle bought farm land in Canada back in 1963. He inherited those acres, and because his family`s holdings north of the border is grandfathered into the new Canadian agriculture regulations, he can still raise crops in two countries.
"This year we have some chick peas here, lentils and durum, on the other side of the border in Saskatchewan we`ll raise durum, canola and corn."
There are numerous challenges to being an international producer aside from going through border patrol inspections to manage your crop and moving large pieces of farm machinery through customs during the planting and harvest seasons.
"We have to keep track of income and expenses in Canada, as well as down here."
He`s also required to comply with two different crop insurance programs, chemicals and some seed can`t cross the border, managing fluctuating currency exchange rates is always a challenge. Up until this year, he could only sell the small grains grown in Saskatchewan through the Canadian Wheat Board. After August 1, Dave will be able to sell his Canadian Wheat for the first time on the open market.
A third of his farm land is located in Canada and two-thirds in the United States, but Dave has an equal amount of friends in both countries.
"We`ve got great neighbors both sides, Canadian neighbors seem to accept us as far as we know and we have great friends up there, real good people."
Dave says farmers in Canada aren`t much different than American producers and he feels right at home working the land in both countries.
This spring was the earliest Dave has ever been able to seed in either Canada or the U.S. He began planting crops in Montana at the end of March.