The CEO of a wild rice company in north western Saskatchewan said the harvest was average this year.

But Nap Gardiner, CEO of NWC Wild Rice, says if you compare it to last year’s, this harvest yielded much more.

“The harvest this year, I think, if you look at a 10 to 15 year average, it may be average, ” he said. “Last year, it was pretty low, below the standard average.”

Gardiner said NWC, an Indigenous wild rice buying company based out of Beauval, has paid close to record prices for rice this year.

“For a couple of years, harvesters couldn’t get as much,” he said. “Therefore rice this year, in terms of the green price, the price hit almost record prices.”

Gardiner said towards the end of the season, prices were hitting $2.40 per pound.

He said NWC is happy to pay more for the rice as the company’s group of primarily Métis harvesters get that money directly.

Gardiner said in the northwest of the province, where most of their rice is grown, some of last year’s crop was taken by frost.

Elsewhere in the province, harvesters experienced high water levels last year which also caused a smaller yield.   

Gardiner said wild rice grows well in warm and sunny conditions.

“This weather and water—if water’s too high when it’s coming up in the springtime, if it  overwhelms the stocks coming up and floating on top of the water, it tends to drown out.”

Gardiner said he wasn’t sure if high water levels were an issue for NWC’s harvesters last year before the frost came, but noted prior to the frost, there was already a below average crop.

(PHOTO: Nap Gardiner is the CEO of NWC Wild Rice. Photo courtesy of NWC Wild Rice online store and Nap Gardiner.)