Wednesday, 30 August 2017 14:12

Fourth-generation Ponteix area farmer carries on tradition

Written by  Andrea Carol
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Andre Perrault harvests durum at Golden Rock Acres Northwest of Ponteix. Andre Perrault harvests durum at Golden Rock Acres Northwest of Ponteix. Photo by Andrea Carol

Apart from life on the farm, a decade or more on the rigs and surviving a multitude of bruises, scrapes, bumps and breaks as a farm boy, fourth-generation producer, Patrick Perrault carries the torch of the family farm forward for future generations.

Now haled Golden Rock Acres, its colloquial meaning is derived from Aurel meaning “golden” and the surname Perrault meaning “rock”.
“Mom and Dad moved to the farm with us in 1983 and bought it from Grandpa, (Aurel Perrault). (I’m) not sure how to finesse this part, but it wasn’t given to my parents. They paid a lot for it and with interest rates being what they were, it was hard beginnings,” explained Aimée Sartison (née Perrault), eldest daughter of André and Margot Perrault of Ponteix, Sask. “The farm under my Mom and Dad’s meticulous care and vision has evolved into a beautiful thriving business really.”
During the 1980s, farmers were confronted by crippling interest rates and high land costs. Economic threats to the Perrault homestead caused financial ruin for André and Margot. For some, the strain was too much, but for André, he adapted and overcame and today has a beautiful family farm to pass down for generations to come. 
“Interest rates went up to 24 per cent and we lost everything,” says André. “The government offered a program so that we had first rights to purchase the land back from them in three years. That’s why I told my boys that if it all possible, they would not have to borrow from the bank to purchase the land from Margot and I. Why make the banks richer?” he asked.
Standing in the middle of his durum field in front of his combine, Andy explains, “we continue to farm to pass all this on to future generations.”
Patrick and Aimée’s great grandfather homesteaded in 1908. His son Aurel started his own operation in 1955. Aurel’s son André purchased the family farm and started his career as a producer in 1975.  Patrick Perrault, grandson to Aurel purchased his first land in 2003 and started farming full time in 2013. The homestead is located just northwest of Ponteix.
When asked why he left the rigs to run the farm, he replied, “The old man gave me an ultimatum: Come home full time or he was going to sell the farm. I figured if the farm didn’t work out I could always go back rigging, but if rigging didn’t work out and the farm was gone I would never get it back,” explains Patrick. “The only thing hard about leaving the rigs was leaving the people I worked with and the friends I made along the way.”
Patrick Perrault, born in 1982 has acquired the Ortman homestead and is currently residing there not far from his childhood home. Patrick proudly farms alongside his father and is a hard-working, quality human being.
“I feel blessed to have been able to grow up in the country and have all the freedoms that came with that. It remains our gathering place and it’s always fun to see it come alive through the eyes of our kids and the adventures they discover when we visit,” Aimée explained. “Numerous visits to the creek catching frogs and fishing, playing in the bales, riding in grandpa’s Gator, riding in Uncle Pat’s semi or hanging out in the field during seeding and harvest, the list goes on and on. And as much as it’s a place that holds great memories for us, the same holds true for countless friends that enjoyed visiting through the years and benefiting from Andy and Margot’s generous hospitality. They’ve really built a legacy there, hopefully for generations to come.”
Gemma Troy explained, “Whatever makes you feel the sun from the inside out, chase that,” and this could not be truer for the Perrault family.

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