Kirk­field-area rancher re­ceives en­vi­ron­men­tal award for stew­ard­ship

John Kinghorn rec­og­nized by The Couch­ich­ing Con­ser­vancy

The Lindsay Post - - LOCAL NEWS -

The Car­den Na­ture Fes­ti­val rec­og­nized rancher John Kinghorn for his his­tory of en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship at the fes­ti­val ban­quet on June 1.

Kinghorn op­er­ates a beef farm near Cam­bray, and for the past decade has pas­tured cat­tle on the Car­den Al­var north of Kirk­field.

In mak­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, Ron Reid from the Couch­ich­ing Con­ser­vancy noted that Kinghorn had helped to build bridges be­tween agri­cul­tural and en­vi­ron­men­tal in­ter­ests in the area.

“John has taught us a lot about the tough eco­nomic re­al­i­ties of the beef in­dus­try, but at the same time has demon­strated ex­em­plary en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship through his man­age­ment,” he said.

Kinghorn’s cat­tle spent their sum­mers on the 1,600- acre Wind­mill Ranch, which was pur­chased in 2007 by a coali­tion of con­ser­va­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions. The ranch is home to a di­ver­sity of grass­land birds, in­clud­ing the en­dan­gered Log­ger­head Shrike, as well as a colour­ful ar­ray of al­var plants. It is slated to be­come part of Car­den Al­var Pro­vin­cial Park in fu­ture.

“We are com­mit­ted to keep­ing cat­tle ranch­ing on this prop­erty,” Reid said, “be­cause graz­ing is essen­tial to main­tain the habi­tat con­di­tions for grass­land birds. We hoped to be able to work with a rancher who would un- der­stand our bio­di­ver­sity pri­or­i­ties, and John proved to be a great part­ner.”

Over the past seven years, the con­ser­vancy and Kinghorn have com­pleted a se­ries of im­prove­ments on the ranch, in­clud­ing fenc­ing to ex­clude cat­tle from sen­si­tive ar­eas, in­no­va­tive so­lar-pow­ered wa­ter­ing sys­tems, and im­proved cor­rals for live­stock man­age­ment. Kinghorn has also been an ac­tive par­tic­i­pant in the Car­den Fo­rum, a dis­cus­sion group set up by the con­ser­vancy to help re­solve is­sues among con­ser­va­tion in­ter­ests, the ag­gre­gate in­dus­try, and lo­cal landown­ers and res­i­dents.

Over the past decade, more than 8,000 acres of the Car­den Al­var have been ac­quired for con­ser­va­tion, pri­mar­ily through the in­volve­ment of Na­ture Con­ser­vancy of Canada. Quarry com­pa­nies have also pur­chased thou­sands of acres, and the shal­low lime­stone bedrock is con­sid­ered an im­por­tant source of ag­gre­gate sup­ply for the Greater Toronto area. Tra­di­tional cat- tle ranch­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, which have been the ma­jor land use in the area for over a cen­tury, are fac­ing an un­cer­tain fu­ture both be­cause of th­ese own­er­ship changes and be­cause of global mar­ket forces.

“Wher­ever pos­si­ble, we want to work with the ranch­ing com­mu­nity to keep cat­tle on ar­eas of good pas­ture,” Reid said. “The fu­ture of grass­land birds de­pends on the abil­ity of ranch­ers like John Kinghorn to act as good stew­ards of their lands.”

Sub­mit­ted

Rancher John Kinghorn

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