REGINA - Jun 17/05 - SNS -- Darren Watson received an award for being Saskatchewan's 2005 Outstanding Young Farmer at presentation ceremonies today at Western Canada Farm Progress Show here. Watson will represent Saskatchewan at the National OYF event in Halifax this November.
Darren Watson holds Bachelor of Commerce and MBA degrees from the University of Saskatchewan and operates a unique farm venture at Avonlea, Saskatchewan. Watson Agriculture Corp specializes in pulse crop production on 4800 tillable acres which are rented from landowners who specialize in growing durum wheat.
This specialized business model allows the cereal producers to obtain the benefits of pulse crop production without having to invest in the equipment or technical expertise while providing Watson Agriculture Corp with a consistently high return on investment.
Watson began farming in 1997 after finishing grad school because it offered the best entry option to operate his own business. In addition, he operated a custom spraying business for 5 years until they became too large to operate both businesses at the same time.
Watson Agriculture Corp operates a combined operation with Ron and Carol Watson of Nova Lea Farms Ltd. under a joint cost center, Rhino Ag Corp which pays the bills and owns the machinery. This is becoming an increasingly common business structure which simplifies farm operations and transitions. Control instead of ownership of farm assets achieves economies of scale and offers a consistently high return on investment.
His pulse crop model requires a minimum of soil testing and fertilization and improves the soil structure for the landowning cereal producer. The most difficult production issue is weed control as the pulses are grown on different land every year and weed control options in pulses are not entirely dependable. Communication and cooperation with landlords ensures that residual chemical does not hamper the landowner's options for next year's rotation. Watson utilizes a minimum tillage operation and the model has enabled landholders to reduce tillage and wind erosion.
Record keeping is an essential component of Watson's operation for communication with landowners. He keeps detailed records on all spraying applications, rates and dates, seeding dates and rates, harvest dates and yields, all crop sales and prices. GPS maps help with seeded acre leases and shows landowners the value of drainage projects.
Watson is also on the Board of Directors of Blue Hills Pulse Processors and believes the greatest contribution he can make is to "generate wealth where it did not exist before".
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