The Gleaner
Agriculture

Ormstown 4-H hosts busy Innovative Ag Tour

Many members from Quebec 4-H spent a weekend in the Valley, as this year’s Innovative Ag Tour was hosted by Ormstown 4-H on March 15 to 17. The Innovative Ag Tour is a 4-H event that brings Quebec 4-Hers together each year during the month of March, showcasing the host club’s local agriculture.

On Saturday, March 16, we visited the Ferme Montcalm et Frères dairy farm in Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, where they milk approximately 160 cows. Each of the seven shareholders have a passion for the farm. We got to see their methods of farming to maximize efficiency, and how the family works together.

Next, we stopped at Hazel Hill Farm in Ormstown where owners Mike Rember and Stacey Beatty welcomed us to their sheep farm, where we got to see their numerous rams, ewes, and baby lambs. We also got to see a few working border collies, which are trained by Beatty herself and used both at home and in competitions across Ontario and the northern United States.

We then took a tour of Homestead Lodge Holsteins, the Cameron family’s dairy farm in Hinchinbrooke. Ashley Cameron, along with the help of his wife Dr. Robyn Wyer, who is a local veterinarian for large animals, and their two young kids, showed us their milking robot farm and their herd of approximately 100 milking cows. They also hosted us for lunch.

From there, we travelled to Havelock to visit the Black Angus herd at Covey Hill Ranch. Sabrina Chenail, the daughter of owners Emmanuel Chenail and Brigitte Poupart, explained their process of raising the highest quality genetics possible while showing us around their ranch. The Chenail family holds an annual bull and select female sale each year along with their partner, Mac Angus Farms.

Chantal Agnew, who owns the Boutique Bon Boeuf and Anglo Acres Angus beef farm, then introduced us to her business. The Boutique started off as a small shop located in the entranceway of her home, until Agnew decided to build a larger building by the road and expand the Boutique. From hamburger meat to ‘‘poutine sausages,” the store has a large selection of meats available to buy.

The tour continued with a stop at Tullochgorum Farm in Ormstown, where owners Steven Lalonde and Loraine Lamb grow three different types of organic popcorn: “White Lightning,” “Midnight Special,” and a yellow “Mushroom Pop” that is ideal for making caramel popcorn.

The day ended with a presentation by poultry farmer Matthew Elliot at the Ormstown Curling Club. Elliot is the sixth generation to work on his family’s poultry farm in Howick. He presented their new laying hen barn project that was completed in March 2020. It can house approximately 22,000 hens, while the farm currently has around 15,000 hens.

 

4 H members participating in this years Innovative Ag Tour enjoyed their stop at the Ferme Coopérative Tourne Sol in Les Cèdres on March 17 The tour was hosted by the Ormstown 4 H club PHOTO Sarah Brisebois

 

The tour started again the following day, with our first stop taking place at L’Érablière des Roy, a maple syrup production in Sainte-Marthe. Céline and Yvon Roy sell products in their boutique as well as at various farmers’ markets. Their sugar shanty has won many awards provincially and internationally for their maple products, including the title of Grand-Maître Sucrier International.

Our next stop was at the organic market garden Ferme Coopérative Tourne-Sol in Les Cèdres.

On 12 acres, this farm is run by 10 co-op members, where each is an equal partner who focuses on a specific aspect of the farm. Their products are distributed through weekly vegetable baskets to over 700 families.

The last stop of our Ag Tour was at the Ferme Quinn in Notre-Dame-de-l’Ile Perrot. Owned by Phil Quinn and Stephanie Maynard, the farm is an agritourism business that welcomes over 100,000 visitors annually. The Quinns make farming accessible to many families. You can pick your own strawberries, blueberries, apples, hot peppers, pumpkins, and much more.

Participants said a big thank-you to Ormstown 4-H for planning each of our stops, as well as to all farms and enterprises that welcomed 4-Hers for a visit. Ormstown 4-H also thanked the members who came from all around for a glimpse of farming in and around the Valley.

Next year’s Innovative Ag Tour will take place in Lachute.

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