Whales nominated for national farm award

A Mapleton family is among the finalists for this year’s Dairy Farm Sustainability Award. The Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) recently announced Korb, Kelly, Bruce and Deborah Whale’s Clovermead Farms operation is one of four finalists for the national 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,” stated Wally Smith, DFC president in a press release. “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.”

DeLaval will join DFC in announcing the winner on July 16 at DFC’s annual general meeting in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The winner 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,” said Andrew Ritchie, managing director, DeLaval Inc. Canada. “Wherever possible, we endeavour to support sustainable food production by delivering solutions, which optimize resource efficiencies on dairy farms. This is smart farming.”

A list of environmentally beneficial practices undertaken at Clovermead Farms includes installation in 2012 of an anaerobic digester that turns cow manure into biogas, which produces electricity and transforms the dry matter into a source of clean bedding and/or high quality fertilizer, that has fewer weed seeds and pathogens than regular manure. The Whales have also committed to maintaining a minimum of 10% of their land base as wildlife habitat and forest, with wildlife corridors made of tree rows to connect woodlots and streams. In the last 40 years, they have planted roughly 50,000 trees as part of their forest management and efforts to stabilize stream banks and reduce wind erosion through windbreaks.

Other finalists are:

– Wietze and Natalie Dykstra of Dykstra Farms, Knowlesville, New Brunswick);

– Stéphane, Claude and Ginette Robert of Ferme Clobert Inc., Saint-Bonaventure, Quebec); and

– Bill Vanderkooi of Bakerview EcoDairy, Abbotsford, British Columbia.