“This was a tremendous year for our Farming for Health project,” Larry Hilworth, Chair of the Farming for Health committee, stated in conjunction with the Health Foundation 2018 Gala, where the proceeds of the project were officially presented. “We had donations of time and product that allowed us to realize a great profit on the land we farm. All of that profit will be used to buy medical equipment that will benefit everyone in this region of the province.”
“We have had the same core group on our organizing committee for several years now, and they stepped up in a big way this year, and every year. The local implement dealers, Pattison Agriculture, Rocky Mountain Equipment, and Yorkton New Holland seed and harvest the crop each year. Yorkton Co-op donates the fuel, Logan Stevens picks rocks and has staff run equipment, Cargill provides fertilizer and storage, Miccar Aerial applies fungicide and pesticide, City of Yorkton donates the land, Bayer Crop Science donates crop inputs, Dow AgroSciences provides our seed, AVT Transport hauls our grain and Louis Dreyfus Company buys our crop. Agratactics Agronomy provides the agronomic services,” continued Mr. Hilworth.
“What I love about this project is that it brings together businesses and people who are in competition with each other, but they all put that aside and work together because this project is about making our community a better place. It’s good to be a part of that.
“This is our core group, but there are many other businesses that help. This year we had nine combines in the field at harvest; that’s an example of how people want to participate and help. I had other calls asking if we needed anything, and it is wonderful to see how the agriculture community is prepared to step up,” said. Mr. Hilworth.
This is year six for Farming for Health. The first five years were dedicated to raising $1 million for a new hospital. That goal was reached last year. Starting this year, funds will be used to buy equipment that will make a difference in people’s lives right away.
This year the Farming for Health and Gala committees are pooling the funds to buy the new digital microscopy system for which The Health Foundation has been raising money. The digital microscopy system costs $196,570. When the funds are pooled, there is just enough to buy this equipment.
This equipment will provide completely new services for us and be a big step forward in modernizing the lab and the services that can be provided.
Lab services are vital to healthcare; they are often called the front line of diagnostic services. Lab work will often be the first indication something is wrong or needs to be looked into. The Yorkton lab conducted 332,241 tests and procedures last year for approximately 20,000 individuals. The Yorkton lab does the fourth highest number of tests and procedures in the province.
For all the tests that the Yorkton lab does, they still courier thousands of blood samples to Regina for specialists to diagnose. This new equipment means that won't need to happen anymore.
The new digital microscopy will allow Yorkton lab technicians to put a sample under the microscope in the Yorkton lab and the specialist in Regina can look at it at the same time. It will provide the ability to do same-day analysis. This means the lab won’t have to package up samples and send them out to specialists.
For the majority of people a delay of 10 to 14 days in diagnosis is fine. However, there are many people that will benefit from a faster diagnosis. The Yorkton lab diagnoses thousands of heart and cancer conditions each year; for many of these a faster diagnosis can make a difference.
This technology will give the 100,000-plus people who live in this area the same diagnostic timelines as the people who live in the larger cities. It is harder to recruit medical specialists to rural areas, but technology can give us the same access that those in the major cities have.