Guelph, ON – Mack Emiry, a dairy producer from Sudbury District, has taken over as the President of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) for 2017. Mack and his wife, Beth, along with their sons Keith and Alan, and his brother George, operate Emiry Farms located outside Massey, designated a “Century Farm” in 2013.
“I do not really know when I attended my first Soil and Crop meeting at the District level but it was at least 50 years ago,” states Emiry. “What I do know is that Soil and Crop has been very important to our farm over those years. It has provided the opportunity to try new crops and new varieties. Land Stewardship programs, Environmental Farm Plan, Growing Your Farm Profits, and Best Management Practices, are just a few of the educational opportunities which we have used. The objective here at Emiry Farms has always been to leave the soil in an improved condition for the following generations. We use a proper crop rotation which helps maintain organic matter and achieves improved overall soil health.”
OSCIA’s annual conference earlier in February followed a new format that showcased the considerable work of members addressing the OSCIA slogan “Seek, Test, Adopt”.
Chad Anderson, St. Clair Region Director, reported on results of a study in which he was involved that demonstrated that a beef cow-calf operation in Southwestern Ontario could be an economically attractive alternative to field crops while gaining the soil health benefits of a perennial crop. Denis Perrault, 1998 OSCIA Past President, described the benefits and challenges of diversifying his dairy operation with wine grape production and wine-making. Other members reported on the valuable information learned from local and regional projects on topics such as soil sampling, cover crops, and nitrogen management. Guest speakers included Pat Lynch, Certified Crop Advisor with Cargill for many years, who challenged the delegates to think critically about soil organic matter, soil fertility and soil sampling and Mike Dorion of Living Soil Solutions in Calgary, who informed delegates about the bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms that are key to maintaining a productive soil.
The OSCIA Soil Champion for 2017 is Eric Kaiser, who along with his son, Max, has excelled in soil conservation for over 35 years on their heavy clay farm near Napanee. They have implemented a variety of practices including no-till, reduced compaction, and have expanded crop rotation including cover crops.
Jordan Graham, this year’s recipient of the OSCIA Soil Health Graduate Scholarship, part of OSCIA’s Soil and Crop Sustainability Fund, was introduced by Jaclyn Clark, the previous year’s recipient, who presented her research about inter-seeding cover crops into standing corn. Graham will be investigating the influence of biomass crops on soil organic carbon levels.
Summaries of the presentations will be published throughout the year in OSCIA newsletters, in Crop Advances, and in Country Guide, as well as on the OSCIA website.
“OSCIA continues to provide opportunities for its members province wide with our Tier 1 and Tier 2 funds and by delivering other programs such as Growing Forward 2, GLASI (Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative), FHIP (Farmland Health Incentive Program), and many others”, states Emiry. “I look forward to a busy year and feel particularly fortunate to serve as 2017 President of this fine organization.”
OSCIA’s mission is to Facilitate Responsible Economic Management of Soil, Water, Air and Crops through Development and Communication of Innovative Farming Practices.
For more information, please contact:
Amber Van De Peer, OSCIA, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-826-3152
Mack Emiry, President OSCIA, at email@example.com or 705-865-2249