Renovating the family farm business

By Matt McIntosh for Farm & Food Care

Scott Douglas stands next to his combine.

Scott Douglas stands next to his combine.

(Leamington) – It was in the midst of the Great Depression in 1935 that Scott Douglas’ grandparents first purchased 50 acres of farmland on a small concession road just north of Leamington, Ontario. Now, after 80 years, two generations and several major farm changes, the Douglas family farm is going stronger than ever.

The now 1,800 acre farm, known as Cloverview Farms, produces corn, soybeans and wheat, and features a small hobby operation usually containing a couple of beef cows, a few pigs and some chickens. Scott farms alongside Jennifer and parents, Harold and Linda. Scott and Jennifer also have three children – nine year old Graydon, seven year old Shannon and five year old Cameron – who help with the small number of animals. Continue reading

Day in the Life – Planting P.E.I. Potatoes

DayintheLifeMy name is Keisha Rose and I’m a 6th generation potato farmer working on my family’s farm in North Lake, Prince Edward Island.

I’ve worked on the farm on a part-time basis since I graduated high school nine years ago. The planting season lined up well with the end of the winter university semester, so it was the obvious job to go to at that time. It wasn’t until I moved away for a while that I realized I didn’t want to be away from North Lake and the farm.

Keisha Rose is a 6th generation potato farmer  in Prince Edward Island

Keisha Rose is a 6th generation potato farmer in Prince Edward Island

After graduating university with a Business degree, I was encouraged to go and get a job away from the family farm so I could make sure I had experience working outside of our family business. I worked for the past few years as a crop insurance representative. This job was a great learning experience and I got to see other farms and meet other farmers, and it gave me an even greater appreciation for the agricultural industry.

However, the pull to farm always seemed to be something that was present in my mind. Even as a young girl I loved visits to the field or the warehouse, so I felt it was something I couldn’t ignore. Although I have been working on and off the farm in the past, this year I decided to take more of a full-time, year-round role.

What I love is that every day is something new. You are usually outside, driving something, or trying to figure out the next problem. It comes with a lot hard work, a large time commitment, and a need to be constantly willing to learn, but in the end you get to see the “fruits of your labour” – quite literally!

Monday, May 18th, The first day we planted. My view from inside the box of the planter where I was working.

Monday, May 18th, The first day we planted. My view from inside the box of the planter where I was working.

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Lanark dairy farmers are faces of “May” in 2015 Faces of Farming calendar

Amanda and Jason O’Connell’s Faces of Farming calendar page

Amanda and Jason O’Connell’s Faces of Farming calendar page

(Carleton Place) – Amanda and Jason O’Connell, dairy farmers from Beckwith Township in Lanark County, are the winners of the 2014 Outstanding Young Farmer Competition in Ontario. This prestigious award is presented to farmers by industry leaders. The couple will continue on to compete on behalf of Ontario at the national competition in November, 2014.

In 2015, the couple also appears in the tenth anniversary Faces of Farming calendar, published by Farm & Food Care Ontario. Their page is sponsored by RBC Royal Bank and they are featured for the month of May. Continue reading

Remember safety practices when farm equipment rubber hits the road

Guest column by Larry Davis, Board Member, Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)

Slow-moving farm equipment on roadways can present significant challenges for both motorists and farmers, particularly at this time of year. As Ontario farmers rush to bring in the harvest in good weather conditions, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) encourages farmers to review road safety practices.

While farm equipment is permitted on roadways at all times of year, it is a more common sight during the busy harvest season. Motorists who are unaccustomed to encountering farm equipment on the road are often unprepared to safely follow slow-moving tractors towing large, specialized pieces of equipment such as combines and grain wagons.

The OFA reminds farmers there are specific rules farm equipment operators are required to follow to keep our roads safe. For example, drivers must be at least 16 years of age and all farm equipment drivers should practice a “no riders policy.” Farm vehicles must yield half the roadway to oncoming traffic, they must be properly lit, and operators must signal turns. Farm vehicles should be driven on the travelled portion of the road, because road shoulders may not support the weight of farm equipment.  And remember tractors and farm equipment still follow the rules of the road, and that means no cell phones while driving.

It’s always good practice to keep your lights on when travelling roadways – especially around dawn and dusk. And every tractor, combine or towed implement must display a slow moving vehicle sign to warn motorists that the vehicle will not reach highway speeds. But with proper signage comes some hefty rules: equipment displaying a slow moving vehicle sign is limited to a maximum speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour. Equipment often requires operators to travel at lower speeds because wide turns and heavy loads make it difficult to stop quickly or turn easily on roadways.

Let’s put farm safety first this harvest season. The OFA encourages everyone – farmers and motorists – to consider road safety practices when farm equipment travels on roadways. On behalf of the OFA, we wish farmers a safe and profitable harvest season.

Get with the plan – Canadian Agricultural Safety Week

by Kim Waalderbos

This week farmers are being reminded to ‘Get with the plan!’ – the farm safety plan, that is. It’s all part of Canadian Agricultural Safety Week, held this year from March 10-16th. The week kicks off with events held at farms across Canada.

The farm and food care industry is a key primary industry in Canada, and also one of the most dangerous. Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting (CAIR) shows that 1,975 farm-related deaths occurred between 1990 and 2008. Of those deaths, 47 per cent were farmer/owner operator, and 14 per cent were their children. CAIR also found 14,830 individuals were admitted to hospital because of agricultural injuries between 1990 and 2000 (the last years injury data was readily collected).

In a recent survey, the majority of Canadian farmers (85 per cent) say safety is a priority on their farm, but less than one in ten have a written agricultural safety plan on their farm or ranch. This week, the spotlight is on and farmers are being encouraged to use free resources like www.planfarmsafety.cato make their own customized, written, farm safety plan. With a plan, farmers can identify hazards on the farm, control them, outline emergency actions, conduct training and monitor incidents.

According to the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, machinery is involved in 70 per cent of farming fatalities in Canada, with rollovers (mainly tractors) being the top ranked cause of fatality. (Source of photo is unknown)

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