Lo­cal Farm News

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS BRIEFS - Vic­to­ria Vanier,

Thanks to some un­sea­son­ably warm and dry weather, many lo­cal agri­cul­tural pro­duc­ers have got­ten a jump on the grow­ing sea­son. “We had that great weather about two weeks ago and a lot of the farm­ers have been get­ting on the land. It was too early to seed our land but we got a head start get­ting the fields ready,” said Hat­ley Town­ship farmer and Que­bec Farmer’s As­so­ci­a­tion di­rec­tor Wen­dell Con­ner. “Some other farm­ers were able to

seed and we were able to get all the ma­nure spread. That was the first time we were able to get that done this early. The grass doesn’t seem to be com­ing fast – the ground is still cold but that could change fast,” he added. Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Con­ner, the rain that we got re­cently was badly needed in the fields. “It was get­ting re­ally dry. We got a lit­tle too much but bet­ter that than too lit­tle.”

Calf prices at the auc­tions have been good in re­cent months. “We’re back now to the prices be­fore the mad cow epi­demic hit. The farm­ers suf­fered about nine or ten years with that and fi­nally it’s a lit­tle eas­ier to pay the bills,” said the beef pro­ducer. Last year was a “dis­as­ter” be­cause the sta­bi­liza­tion pay­ments were re­duced and the price per pound at the auc­tion was still low; now the price per pound can range be­tween $1.50 and $1.70, even up to $2 for some calves. Although costs such as fuel and prop­erty taxes have in­creased enor­mously in the last ten years, beef farm­ers “are well sat­is­fied with the prices.”

Sat­is­fied or not, as was re­ported by Sta­tis­tics Canada, the num­ber of farms in the Es­trie re­gion is go­ing down. “Quite a few farm­ers have dropped out. Smaller pro­duc­ers just give up be­cause any­one with a mort­gage or farm loans is go­ing to have a hard time,” con­cluded Mr. Con­ner.

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