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Second annual Chatham-Kent Farm Show kicks off

Two-day event wraps up Thursday, January 29

By Diego Flammini, Farms.com

Hundreds of farmers and agricultural enthusiasts made their way to the John D. Bradley Chatham-Kent Convention Centre to visit and receive information from the over 120 vendors showing off their equipment, services and capabilities at the second annual Chatham-Kent Farm Show.

From Devolder Farms and their precision planting technology, the University of Guelph talking about their Ontario Sustainable Crop Research and Innovation Centre at Ridgetown Campus, Maizex and the Ontario Plowmen’s Association, the Chatham-Kent Farm Show had something for everyone.

Along with the vendor booths showing off the latest in agricultural technology and efficiency initiatives, the show featured a number of informative sessions with industry experts talking about a variety of issues ranging from succession planning for family farms, ethanol and bio-refineries to precision agriculture and new cropping techniques.

Session Highlights

Environmental Stewardship

Mike Buttenham, AG Specialist for the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority and Paul Johnston from Thompsons, spoke about environmental stewardship, focusing on phosphorous applications and what Johnston referred to as the “4R Nutrient Stewardship” which consists of the 4Rs:

Right Time – The timing of the application with Spring being the ideal season to do so

Right Source – Making sure the farmer applies the proper fertilizer to the crops that require it

Right Rate – Making sure each crop is receiving the proper amount of fertilizer depending on its needs

Right Place – Keeping the nutrients in areas where the crops can maximize their usage

The session touched on how phosphorous is one of the 17 essential nutrients in healthy soil to help the crops and some practices to implement to for best phosphorous retention including not scheduling application before a heavy rainfall or when the soil is frozen or snow-covered, doing soil tests every 2-3 years to determine nutrient requirements and utilizing cover crops to reduce run-off.

Succession Planning

Succession planning is something every farm family must plan for at a certain time. It’s a way to discuss and implement plans to pass on the farm to the next generation of the family or an outside source if that’s what is deemed best by the farm owners.

John Mill and Barry Mills, both financial advisors with the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA) discussed a mix of the tax and the social issues that can come into play when succession planning. Key components that were touched on when it comes to succession planning is being inclusive and being a good communicator.

“Succession planning is that time when you need to be involving other people,” Mill said during his presentation to a room of farmers and family members.

Mill referred to a Michigan State University study showing 85% of conflict is due to miscommunication and a Virginia Tech study showing that good communication can aid in a 21% increase in profit.

There are two very good tax advantages farmers have:

  1. Capital Gains Exemption – A capital gain is defined as the profit from the sale of assets as bonds or real estate. The government of Canada provides a tax exemption of up to $800,000 on capital gains on qualified farm property.
  2. Rollovers to children – Farmers can transfer assets to a child or spouse and they’ll pay anywhere between no tax and whatever the fair market is determined to be at.

The idea of having all the information sessions and vendors in one place made it an easy decision for farmers and agriculture enthusiasts to come out to the farm show.

“It’s excellent to see everything that’s new and happening,” said Wayne Hooyer. “It’s better than reading it in a magazine. I hope they continue it.”

Precision Agriculture

With precision agriculture becoming more prevalent, the panel of Russ Barker from Dupont Pioneer, Greg Stewart, Corn Specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture, Wayne Black from Devolder Farms and Mike Wilson from Thompsons provided in depth explanations of some good practices if precision agriculture is an important subject to the specific farmers.

Barker said monitoring fertility, soil health, having planters running level, and putting nutrients back into the soil can be a way of keeping the farm healthy regardless of how big it is.

“If you’re not putting 150lbs of phosphorous and 150lbs of potash back into the soil every three years, you are robbing your future,” he said.

Greg Stewart described a new soil nitrate test what will give specific nitrogen rate recommendations based on parts per million (ppm) and yield expectation. For example, if a farmer does a 15ppm nitrate test they were given the same recommendation regardless of the kind of field they were working with.

Wayne Black from Devolder talked about how farmers plant, matters.

With respect to corn, he said having adequate moisture, heat, soil contact and nutrients are a key list of things to get to the ultimate goal of 500 bushels/acre.

Mike Wilson from Thompsons talked of how basic farming practices apply to precision agriculture.

“Proven agronomy is the key to all of our success and always will be and that’s never going to change no matter what we do precision-wise.”

He suggested farmers start “using profit per acre instead of bushels per acre.”

The Chatham-Kent Farm Show provided visitors and vendors the opportunity to learn about new practices coming into the agriculture sector and the show itself looks to keep growing in the future.

“The exhibitors are diverse, it’s a community farmer-to-farmer, business-to-business show and we’re really excited about how it has been enveloped by the Chatham-Kent community,” said Karen McKeown, manager of the show.

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