Greater Production Campaign

As a part of the war effort, the government attempted to increase food production by diverting ‘unused’ reserve land and money into the cultivation of food for the war effort. It was reported that of the 340,000 acres of available pasture in Southern Saskatchewan only 120,000 were being "properly" used, and the rest could be better cultivated by settlers. Compared to the policy of the early years of war, which asked First Nations people to contribute their labour and land to the war effort, the production campaign eliminated the voluntary nature of assistance. The campaign featured three components – encouraging First Nations people to increase their agricultural production, leasing reserve lands to settler farmers, and establishing “greater production” farms on reserves, which were directed by Indian agents and employed First Nations labourers. First Nations were also encouraged to help the farmers in their district with harvesting crops. This Campaign also permitted the Department of Indian Affairs to use ‘surplus’ band funds to buy machinery and farming supplies for these greater production farms. This program bears resemblance to a program enacted in the United State the previous year.

Other Note

Greater Production Farms were established on Assiniboine, Crooked Lakes, Muscowpetung and Touchwood agency reserves.

This policy gave government officials greater control over Indigenous lands and peoples under the pretense of contributing to the war effort. It also imposed a Eurocentric perspective on land productivity, such that land existed for cultivation and profit, and should fulfill its agricultural potential. The appropriation and surrender of Indigenous lands was a common theme in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Greater Food Campaign allocated reserve lands that were designated for First Nations peoples and their families (including any future kin) for farming and ended in the hands of settlers. This would create smaller reserves and incidentally effect the opportunities for First Nations peoples on reserves and their access to food/resources.
Rural or Urban
Start Date
End Date
File Description
An Act to Amend the Indian Act: 8-9 George V, Chapt. 26