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Winter Workshop: Innovations in Agriculture

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2 King St W

2 King Street West

Chatham-Kent, ON N7M 1C6

Canada

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Enjoy a FREE evening of networking with fellow farmers, producers and agi-business professionals and presentations from guest speakers!

About this Event

The Kent Federation of Agriculture presents a FREE evening of networking with fellow farmers, producers and agi-business professionals. Enjoy presentations from two guest speakers speaking on their triumphs, challenges, and innovations in two very different aspects of the agriculture industry. The theme of the event is Innovations in Agriculture: Pushing boundaries, taking risks and implementing new strategies to your farm business.

Guest Speakers:

Alexander Wingrove- Owner Country Garden Market, Chatham, Ontario

Alex was part of the 2017-2018 Summer Company Program, put on by CK Economic Development and took the opportunity to turn a hobby into a full-fledged business. Following the success he had that year, he continued to develop Country Garden Market all the while attending school for agriculture at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus, and also working midnights at a local mushroom farm. Moving forward, Alex has plans to extend his growing season into early January with hopes of only a minimal 6-8 week shut down. However, even in a shut down period, Country Garden Market will be busy with preparation for the following year’s crop. Alex also successfully completed the Small Business Centre Starter Company Plus program. As a result, he has been able to take advantage of the ongoing training and mentoring which has helped him to maximize his business.

All of Alex’s planning and hard work has meant that, as he enters his third growing season, he will have reached his maximum capacity for the weekly fresh food basket delivery program he offers. “We are extending our greenhouse capacity and are also looking at crops that can handle cold weather conditions. With some luck, we will be able to supply winter markets with fresh produce,” said Alex. “We have a few other plans for expansion in the future, but right now I need to focus on the strong harvest we are already achieving.” Alex now provides all corners of Chatham-Kent with his fresh, local produce subscription boxes on a weekly basis, attends farmers markets in the area weekly to sell his produce, all while making his 2 acre plot on Riverview Line in Chatham as self-sustaining as possible. Alex brings a vibrant, entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with a passion for agriculture and providing healthy food to his community.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Fruit---Vegetable-Store/Country-Market-Garden-1310622345653906/

https://www.chatham-kent.ca/EconomicDevelopment/newsreleases/pages/Country-Garden-Market-is-Growing-in-all-the-Right-Ways.aspx

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Mike Belan - Belan Farms, Lambton County, ON. Recipient of the 2020 Innovative Farmer of the Year Award

2019 was a trying year from Mike Belan. The Lambton county farmer sat tight last spring as his Brookston clay loam soil absorbed heavy rain, but Belan was confident his farm could withstand Mother Nature’s moisture assault. He’s learned to be patient thanks to a 30-year investment in building healthy, resilient soil. That commitment to soil health, environmental stewardship, and progressive thinking made Belan a deserving recipient of the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario (IFAO) 2020 Innovative Farmer of the Year award, presented at the IFAO conference in London, Ont. Belan tells his story about his family’s soil health journey, which started in the late 1980s when farmers across country were feeling the strain of tough financial times. A third-generation farmer, Belan now farms 1,000 acres alongside his family members on their farms just outside Petrolia, ON.

Belan notes how long term no-till and maintaining a corn-soy-wheat rotation has helped mitigate weed pressure. In 2014, they integrated an oats and radish cover crop for the first time. Now, they use a five species mix of oats, radish, peas, vetch, and triticale. The Belans have also modified their existing equipment to inter-seed cover crops and improve corn establishment while using a split-rate, Y-drop system for nitrogen application.While the Belans have noticed how implementing cover crops has benefited the soil, they have also added value to the farm business through the addition of a few heifers to graze the cover crops and sell beef direct to consumers. If it were more easily accomplished, Belan says he would bring livestock in for all their acres.

Mike brings an innovative, tenacious approach to their operation, and it is easy to see his passion for agriculture, family and farming.

Links:

https://www.realagriculture.com/2020/02/innovative-farmer-mike-belan-is-building-healthy-soils-and-a-brighter-future/

https://www.sarniathisweek.com/news/local-news/lambton-farmer-reaps-benefits-of-no-till-agriculture

http://ontariosoil.net/listing/mike-belan/

This event is open to the public! Pre-registration is encouraged, however walk-ins night of will certainly be welcomed! Light refreshments provided. Plenty of FREE parking on site. The event is located in the Derby Room, INSIDE the Retro Suites Hotel in downtown Chatham.

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Date and Time

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2 King St W

2 King Street West

Chatham-Kent, ON N7M 1C6

Canada

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