Coyote Pancake Mix helping restore duck habitats

It’s a 100-year-old operation, but the flour mill plant behind Coyote Pancake Mix isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

Out of Magrath, Alta., Rockport Flour Mills is joining forces on an ecolabel program that provides critical habitats for wildlife.

“It’s fulfilling that farmers are being recognized for the environmental good that they do,” said Paul Thoroughgood, national manager of sustainability for Ducks Unlimited.

According to the conservation group, duck populations across prairie upland areas are declining due to habitat loss.

READ MORE: Large section of Lake Ontario coastal wetland in Brighton now protected

Thoroughgood said Ducks Unlimited found farmers who plant winter wheat, which might help to address the problem.

“Ducks that chose to nest in winter wheat fields were 24 times more successful than in spring cereals,” he said.

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“There is an improvement in the nesting and the survival of the eggs,” said Jake Wipf, Rockport Flour Mills’ plant manager. “Winter wheat is planted in the fall… So the ground is not disturbed in the spring… So it gives them the chance to hatch.”

Wipf said at first he was concerned winter wheat would change his product, but research from Cereals Canada showed almost no difference.

“It cooks well, it looks well, it’s a nice colour — everything is there,” he said.

Gary Stanford has grown winter wheat for over a decade.

He helped to start the partnership that has since seen two more Canadian companies join in: Les Moulins de Soulanges, a mill producing specialty flours out of Montreal, and Beam Suntory distilling its Northern Keep vodka brand out of Calgary.

“It was a win for Western Canadian winter wheat farmers, it’s a win for Cereal Canada for the work they do to help us with their markets, and it’s a win for the consumer that we have an ecolabel and they can look at it and they have proof that we’re doing things sustainably on our farms,” Stanford said.

Those involved hope more companies jump on board and that the winter wheat ecolabel starts to appear on more Canadian grocery shelves.


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