b'GROWERSPOTLIGHT Perry Family FarmThree generations run the Perry Family Farm with brothers Chris and Harold managing operations, while their parents, Gerald and Beerta, wives and children all workon the farm.PHOTO: CHRIS PERRYImproving the Family FarmThe pandemic may have caused problems in the potato industry, but the Perry family are looking at the bright side as their family works together to improve their farm. BY: ASHLEY ROBINSONFOURTH GENERATION FARMING brothers Haroldneighbour, McCain Foods Coaldale plant, sinceto HALO from our farm as it is such a great and Chris Perry have spent their whole livesit opened 20 years ago. Throughout Chris andprogram for rural southern Alberta, Chris says. working on the family farm at Chin, Alta. and upHarolds time running the farm they have workedThey did the press event right in our backyard, until this year they werent exactly sure how manyon diversifying their operation to weather throughwhich was great, and we were very happy to of their children would be interested in taking overmarket lows such as the current pandemic.support the cause.the operation. The chipping industry is stable and doingFree fry day was held on May 29 and saw The girls werent that interested in the farm.well, Chris explains. The french fry industry, itsMcCain distribute free fries at Western Tractor Whereas recently with the pandemic, they allvery much an export industry. so that industrylocations in Lethbridge, Burdette, Taber and came home from school and theyve been chippinghas been drastically affected and were sitting onMedicine Hat, with J.E.B. Trucking delivering the in on the farm a little bit more, Chris says in aold crop. fries. Donations were accepted for HALO with phone interview. I would say theres not a singleThe Perrys have had to switch some of the$400,000 being raised.one of them right now that would say Im notfry potato acres to other crops due to reducedThe family is also focused on improving their considering the farm as a future option. contract volume with McCain. Theyre also downfarm through a biogas facility and soil health. The Harolds daughters, Chloe, Charlotte and Elise,on staff a bit and have higher operating expensesPerrys own a biogas facility where they use ma-and his son Dane, along with Chris daughters,as they wont be using their full potato storagenure and raw potatoes to power their farm. They Rayn, Amaya and Sye, are all helping out on thecapacity this year. also plant cover crops and spread green manure Perry Family Farm. The two families, along withThey still count themselves as fortunateto improve their soil health.their parents, Gerald and Beerta, Harolds wife Jillthough with the current economic strugglesOur big mission is to leave the farm and and Chris wife Kyra, run a french fry and chippingAlberta is facing due to the downturn in the oilsoil health in better shape than it was given to potato operation with 4,500 irrigated acres andindustry. In May, the Perrys took part in McCainsuse, Harold says. Were not just here to make a 30,000 tons of potato storage.free fry day with Western Tractor and J.E.B. Truck- buck off the farm. We want to create healthy soils Gerald has been growing potatoes since theing which raised money for HALO Air Ambulance. that produce healthy nutrient dense crops for a late 1960s and the family has been hauling to itsWe contributed a significant amounthealthier population. 48 SPUDSMART.COM SUMMER 2020'