Source: Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is pleased to announce the Manning Family Farm, in Falmouth, Nova Scotia, as the recipient of The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) for 2021.
The farm is owned and operated by Dean and Catherine Manning. They left their off-farm careers about 25 years ago to return to the second-generation family farm where Dean was raised. They’ve carried on and expanded the conservation practices that Dean’s parents, Malcolm and Gail, put in place, creating an efficient and profitable mixed farming operation that works very much in harmony with the environment.
“As this year marks the 25th anniversary of TESA, the legacy and intention of the award remains as relevant today, as ever,” said Duane Thompson, Chair of CCA’s Environment Committee. “The Manning Family Farm is a leader in their community and the Canadian beef industry with their outreach efforts to the general public and their open-door policy to educate consumers wanting to know more about how beef cattle are raised.”
The Mannings have 80 head of commercial and purebred beef cattle on about 500 acres along with a greenhouse and market garden for vegetable production that’s marketed through weekly local farm markets, an online store, and wholesale their vegetables to other farm markets in the area. The farm also includes about 40 acres of annually cropped land to produce silage corn and grain crops such as wheat or fall rye. About 300 acres are cleared and seeded to forages to be used for either pasture or hay production. The balance of the farm is woodland or bush pasture used mainly as shelter. Brooks with adjoining riparian areas flow through the property. The various watercourses that cross the farm were also fenced out to restrict livestock access and the buffer areas established allowed wildlife to flourish. On remote pastures, solar panels power electric fence energizers with water from one of their ponds pumped to a large stock tank run from a solar powered pump.
The family focused on developing a grazing and cropping system that considers risk management. With climate change and more volatile and extreme weather the couple needed to develop an adaptive system as weather conditions change.
It was after their area of Nova Scotia experienced dry growing seasons, that the Mannings began thinking it might be a good risk management tool to stockpile some forages. Some pastures were more intensively managed, while others were set aside to grow and not be used until after the growing season. If needed that stockpiled forage could be cut and baled, it could be grazed in the fall, or used the next spring – this provided some options.
For the past few years, the family also worked on extending the grazing season. They seeded cover crops, such as a winter cereal or in some cases a forage blend on cereal and corn stubble after grain and silage corn was harvested. The cover crop could be grazed later in the fall, and they also saved part of the corn crop as standing corn for winter grazing.
The Mannings were one of six regional nominees vying for the national award. “All of our nominees have so many great conservation stories to tell,” Thompson said. “Every year TESA judges acknowledge the innovative conservation solutions all nominees bring to enhancing not only their operation but the environment and wildlife around them.”
The award was presented by Thompson during this year’s virtual Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC).
Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor, MNP, and our Foundational Sponsors Ducks Unlimited Canada, Birds Canada and the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) for sponsoring this year’s TESA program.
The CCA’s national annual award, TESA has recognized the outstanding stewardship efforts of Canadian beef producers since 1996. For more information about TESA, click here. To watch the TESA 25th Anniversary video, click here.
The CCA is the national voice for Canada’s beef cattle industry representing 60,000 beef farms and feedlots.