Northern Ontario wins big at BFO's 2020 AGM
Farmers from across the province gathered at the Beef Farmers of Ontario’s annual general meeting this week. The north had a strong representation, with delegates from every district in the north and many young producers taking advantage of BFO’s Young Producer Program. Amongst AGM delegates were this year’s winners of the Ontario Mapleseed Pasture Award and the Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA).
Jeff and Kristina Pollard of Pollard Farms from the Stratton area in Rainy River district took home the Mapleseed award. The award recognizes producers doing an outstanding job of pasture management. Jeff and Kristina run 450 head of cattle in the winter and 600-700 head of cattle in the winter over 900 acres of pasture land. They start grazing in mid-May and make use of different grazing techniques to keep the cattle on pasture for as long as the weather allows. This includes rotational grazing throughout the summer, allowing at least 40 days for rest and regrowth in each paddock after grazing, and making use of extended grazing practices such as grazing oats as a second crop in November and stockpile grazing well into December until the snow becomes too deep. Jeff and Kristina are great examples of how farmers in northern Ontario maximize pasture production through cattle and grazing management.
This year’s TESA award winner comes from Temiskaming district. This award recognizes producers who show leadership in conservation and environmental practices on their farm. Paul de Jong of Charlton Angus Cattle Company runs 150 head of cattle on his farm. He has worked to fence cattle out of water ways and woodlots on his farm to rejuvenate these areas. His efforts have helped to decrease the impact of wind and water on erosion, as well as cattle impact on creek banks and wooded areas. Paul is another great example of the measures being taken by beef producers in the north to ensure they are taking care of the land.
Both award recipients had the opportunity to share what practices have worked for them on their farms with AGM delegates. Congratulations to both of this year’s winners!