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Four finalists announced for Dairy Farm Sustainability Award

Published on 01 July 2014

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is pleased to announce the finalists for this year’s Dairy Farm Sustainability Award, which is sponsored by DeLaval Canada.

“We are pleased to take the opportunity of Environment Week to present the award to the four finalists,” says Wally Smith, DFC president.

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“This year again, we have farmers who have shown innovative management practices, which we want to celebrate and share with all Canadians. This award recognizes the dedication of these farmers towards sustainable farming, and they are among the best environmental stewards in our country.”

The four finalists selected this year are:

  • Wietze and Natalie Dykstra, Dykstra Farms, Knowlesville, New Brunswick, strive to achieve a balance between economic profitability and environmental and social benefits.

    They work with their natural environment, harvesting crops that are acclimated to their mountainous area and leaving the forest on their land totally intact, which favours biodiversity.

    “One thing I am proud of,” says Wietze, “is that I have been able to keep my annual fertilizer bill almost the same for the last 15 years, while doubling the number of cows, and thus mouths to feed, and still have plenty of feed.”

  • Stéphane, Claude and Ginette Robert, Ferme Clobert Inc., Saint-Bonaventure, Quebec, are active members of their community. Various family members have been involved in agricultural organizations and clubs, community groups and the municipality.

    Working with experts and innovating with a strategic plan are two elements of advice from this family. “The important thing is having a good overall view of the operation in order to make wise decisions, while considering the opinions of experts and advisers.

    You shouldn’t be afraid to innovate, but to do so, it’s necessary to make gradual and well-planned changes,” the Roberts say.

  • Bill Vanderkooi, Bakerview EcoDairy, Abbotsford, British Columbia, has built the first demonstration farm of its kind in Canada, receiving not only visitors on the farm but online to its webcams as well.

    He is well-known for his innovative and green businesses, which includes the Vitala brand. “We wanted to display and promote an environmentally friendly, sustainable and cow-friendly approach to dairy farming.

    We have innovations in cow comfort, an anaerobic digester, the green roof, high-efficiency lighting, and efficient heating and cooling systems,” Vanderkooi says.

  • Korb and Kelly, and Bruce and Deborah Whale, Clovermead Farms, Inc., Alma, Ontario, don’t only strive to care for the land but to improve it as well.

    Korb has an ambitious plan of making the farm carbon-neutral and says he has decreased his carbon footprint by 40 percent already.

    “By the very nature of the word ‘sustainable,’ properly executed projects will be viable over the long term,” Korb Whale says. “However, in order to make sound business decisions, the economic return must occur over a reasonable time period.”

These finalists are innovators, leaders in their communities and apply their individual philosophies with regards to sustainability on the farm.

On top of using common measures farmers have been using on their farms for decades, these farmers are finding their own ways to bring sustainability on their farm to another level, meeting several goals DFC has outlined to continue improving the social, environmental and economic impact of dairy farming in Canada.

Read more about the finalists online at Dairy Farmers of Canada.

DeLaval will join DFC in announcing the laureate on July 17 at DFC’s annual general meeting in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The laureate will receive a trophy and a $2,000 cash prize at the event.

The other three finalists will each receive a trophy and $1,000 at their provincial meeting later this year.

“At DeLaval, we are committed to invest and support dairy farmers’ efforts to improve efficiency on their farms,” says Andrew Ritchie, managing director, DeLaval Inc. – Canada.

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“Wherever possible, we endeavour to support sustainable food production by delivering solutions which optimize resource efficiencies on dairy farms. This is smart farming.”  PD

Run for farmers by farmers, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is the national policy organization representing Canada’s farmers. DFC strives to create stable conditions for the Canadian dairy industry, today and in the future.

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