© TC MEDIA/Colin Maclean
John Hogg, centre, with his sons Bradley, left and Adam. The family potato operation, Klondike Farms of Wilmot Valley, was recently awarded the Gilbert R. Clements Award for Excellence in Sustainable Agriculture.
Klondike Farms on Blue Shank Road wins Gilbert Clements Award for efforts to contain topsoil
A Blue Shank Road farm operation focused on maintaining and building its 600 acres of soil is the winner of the 2015 Gilbert Clements Environmental Award.
Klondike Farms, operated by John Hogg and sons Adam and Bradley, were recently presented the award during the 75th anniversary meeting of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture.
“We’ve done a lot of cover cropping during the past two or three years on all our potato ground,’’ said Adam Hogg, following the presentation at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. “And we are trying to reduce the amount of fall plowing as best we can.”
The Hogg farm near Summerside, has been adopting new techniques for the last decade as a way to keep the soil where it should be.
“We try very hard to make sure we have a cover crop on the land,’’ said John. “We’re constantly looking for something that is better than barley to hold the ground better and ensure it’s not blowing soil away on us.”
Klondike Farms grows chip stock potatoes and Adam admits that’s an advantage since the crop is harvested earlier than process potatoes.
“We’ve definitely cut down on the amount of brown snow you see and a new tillage system we’ve been testing has done an amazing job,’’ he said. “There are a lot of other farms that do what we do and many who do a lot more, but I think all farmers try to improve.”
The Hogg farm is in one of the most intensely farmed regions in the province and began installing larger buffer zones and grass waterway 10 years ago.
“It adds up to make the changes, but it’s an investment and it’s better to keep the soil where it should be and out of the rivers,’’ said John.
The family is also planting brown mustard as an alternative crop during rotation as a way to battle the dreaded wire worm that bores holes into the tubers.
“We’re trying to find a recipe to increase the organic matter in the soil and tame that beast,” said John.
Klondike Farm was recognized for excellence in sustainable agriculture by implementing three year crop rotation, soil conservation structures, cover cropping, and alternative tillage practices.