At the end of September 2016 a bus load of University of Guelph, Ontario Agriculture
College (OAC) students headed north from Guelph to tour the Nipissing and Temiskaming farming districts. Through pictures and quotes here is a summary of their trip.
Two OAC students from the Temiskaming District, Emily Potter and Tanja Gahwiler, decided their fellow aggies should experience the agriculture found in northern Ontario, so they set about to organize a bus trip to northeastern Ontario.
With assistance and sponsorship from enthusiastic farm associations, the two brought 50 of their fellow students to the region.
The tour included a stop at Leisure Farms at Sturgeon Falls to learn about horticulture production and agri tourism.
Jim Johnston of Pasture Hill Farms at New Liskeard provide insight on sheep farming, including a handling system demonstration.
A highlight of any visit to New Liskeard includes a tour of the University of Guelph’s New Liskeard Agriculture Research Station.
Other stops included a bison operation with a state of the art handling facility, a purebred breeding operation, a dairy farm, and a grain elevator.
Beef Farmers of Ontario were a major sponsor of the trip, and current president Matt Bowman hosted the tour for dinner at his farm. He talked about beefnorth.ca (a website for those interested in cow herd expansion in northern Ontario) and the opportunities for farming in northern Ontario.
The group greatly appreciated the opportunity to visit the area. Here are some comments from attendees:
“Attending the dairy farm in the New Liskeard area was an amazing opportunity to learn more about the dairy industry and the growing agriculture in Northern Canada. It is currently very difficult to cash flow a dairy operation due to the cost of land and quota. However, due to the land prices in northern Ontario, it helps make buying a dairy operation a lot more feasible.” – Caleigh Van Kampen
“I see a great deal of opportunity for further agricultural development in Northern Ontario. For the right person, the various programs and financial assistance are crucial to this process. As I complete my education at the University of Guelph, and decide my next steps, a future in the north has always been in the back of my mind. The Northern Ag tour really helped to put the opportunities into perspective.” – Carson Burtwistle
“As a group we heard that this was a “land of opportunity” and after visiting that area and seeing the agriculture that happens in places like New Liskeard it is understandable why they say that. It was a beautiful part of Ontario, with great people, and what seems to be a promising agricultural future.” – David Westerveld
Not only were the students impressed with the area, but the farm organizations from the north east were also delighted to have them visit. Bob Norris, Ontario Federation of Agriculture Member Service Representative stated: “this is a great target audience, you really are the people who can take advantage of the northern agriculture opportunity.”
OMAFRA’s REDB staff assisted with logistics and co-ordination.