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Harvest a hectic time for many

The harvest is a hectic time for most farmers but for Jeff Latos of Wakaw, Saskatchewan, it is especially frantic, as he comes home from the Oilpatch to combine peas.

September 2, 2008  By Saskatoon StarPhoenix

September 2, 2008

Wakaw, SK — With one eye on the darkening sky and the other focused on combining his pea crop, Jeff Latos had little time to notice the brisk Labour Day weekend traffic passing on the gravel road paralleling his field.

With forecasts calling for a damp start to the week, any thoughts of relaxing at the cottage were far from his mind as he carefully steered his combine through the dusty pea crop.


Not that Latos isn't in favour of holidays. In fact, this farmer is doing a spell of double duty, taking time off from his oilpatch job in Lloydminster in order to bring in the sheaves on the 800 acre farm he owns near Wakaw.

"I don't consider this work; it's more a passion," he says, scanning the 65 acres of peas still left to be picked up. "We've had some pretty fair prices over the past couple of years, but we have had many more where it's touch and go if a producer is going to survive or not," he sighs.

Hence the reason Latos opted to live and work in oil-rich Lloydminster, and commute back to the farm during his vacation time to seed and harvest his annual crop.

Having two brothers running farms in the area makes it easier for Latos to operate his own spread. However, there aren't too many days that go by that he doesn't wish he was behind the wheel of a combine or tractor rather than working the oilpatch.

It doesn't hurt that the barley, peas, oats and canola he planted in the spring are fetching healthy prices. This year's feed barley looks very good and appears to be yielding around 90 bushels an acre. He's already sold some of this year's barley at around $3.65 a bushel and has the remainder locked in at $4, all to be picked up right from his farmyard by the buyer.

Profits aside, you get the idea this producer/oil man would be working his fields even if he was barely breaking even. Of course, for too many years,

Saskatchewan farmers have been doing just that.

"Farming gets in your blood. Once you're hooked as a youngster, it's something you'll try to keep on doing no matter what. That's why I don't bring my kids with me when I come back to work on the farm," he laughs.


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