Allison Ammeter, and her husband of 35 years, Michael, operate a third-generation grain farm near Sylvan Lake, Alberta, cropping a rotation of canola, wheat, barley, faba beans and yellow field peas, practicing minimum tillage and using variable rate seeding technology. Due to the location close to the Rocky Mountains, the farm experiences an extremely short growing season every year by North American standards.
Allison is a director and past chair of Alberta Pulse Growers, past chair of Pulse Canada. She served as Canadian Chair of the International Year of Pulses 2016 and was chair of the Plant Protein Alliance of Alberta and a director with Protein Industries Canada and the Protein Highway initiative. Her goal is to serve Canadians in as many ways as possible, encouraging farmers to GROW MORE PULSES, consumers to EAT MORE PULSES, and the food industry to USE MORE PULSES.
AOTP: How did you get into farming?
AA: I grew up on a farm, and also married a man who grew up on a farm. Both my home farm (which my brother now runs) and ours are 3rd generation family businesses. I have been part of a number of pulse promoting organizations, and actively promote adding value here in Alberta to our crops.
AOTP: What does your operation look like now?
AA: We grow wheat, barley, canola, peas, and faba beans in a four-year crop rotation. We practice no till farming (we do not disturb the soil with cultivation), which is very good for water filtration, organic matter increase, and soil health.
AOTP: What is a favourite memory as a farmer?
AA: In 2016, I was Canadian Chair of the International Year of Pulse committees. This allowed me to inform consumers, governments, and others about the many benefits of growing and eating peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. It was an amazing experience, but even better, I have watched as the world since then has really embraced eating plant based proteins from pulses.
AOTP: What products do you sell?
AA: Our products are sold as bulk commodities (wheat, peas, barley, faba beans, canola), and quite often they are used in the province. For example, our barley may go to livestock production or a malt plant, our peas or faba beans may be fractionated, our wheat may go to a flour mill, our canola may go to a crusher. Alternatively, these products are sometimes shipped to a foreign country for their food use.
AOTP: How can restaurants and consumers purchase your products?
AA: Restaurants and consumers may be purchasing my products, but it is third hand (by buying products made from my input). We do not do “direct to consumer” sales, however, if you buy pulse products that are labeled “Product of Canada”, you are supporting local and Canadian pulse farmers.
AOTP: What is one thing that you want others to know about pulse growing?
AA: Alberta grows far more food than our population can eat. We are proud to feed our consumers with healthy crops, and equally proud to feed the world. It’s a complicated process getting food from the spring seeding to someone’s plate, but if we are given the tools to do so, we can accomplish a great deal!