Alan Kennedy speaking at the MB Corn Growers 40th anniversary celebration.

Corn growers reflected on the history of the crop in the province at the Manitoba Corn Growers Association's 40th Anniversary this week.

Alan Kennedy of the Miami area was one of the founding directors. He planted his first corn crop in 1964.

"If we got 40-45 bushels per acre in the sixties, it was a good crop. And now look, if we don't get 100 we don't think we've done well. It's amazing what the plant breeders have done for us," he says.

"We were looking for a crop with a better return than our traditional cereals and flax. Canola hadn't shown up yet," says Kennedy. "There's a lot of American corn coming in here because the livestock producers liked it. It was high energy and very palatable...the market was here, right on our doorstep, so why not take a shot at servicing that market? Of course, Gimli came along at about the same time."

The Seagrams distillery at Gimli was built in 1969.

"When you look back on it, it has all paid off. Seagrams was a very good corporate citizen and they put a lot of effort into teaching us how to grow corn. It was a cooperative effort. The Department of Agriculture also did their part," he says.