SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE ISN’T NEW TO SIXTH GENERATION FARMER DAVID FRANCIS.
In fact, it’s how Francis Farms has been run for as long as he can remember and how his son, Brett, continues to operate the potato and beef family farm business.
In 2017, Francis Farms received the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association's Environmental Stewardship Award in recognition of its soil conservation efforts. This award recognizes the Francis family’s longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability through sustainable agricultural practices that respect the land they farm and the surrounding natural environment.
Francis Farms was one of the first farms on PEI to implement an integrated soil management program, including strip cropping, grassed waterways and buffer zones in the fields to reduce soil erosion and prevent runoff into nearby waterways.
In addition to fencing off access to neighbouring brooks and surface water for their cattle, the Francis’ have an extensive pasture rotation system where the cattle are moved every 3 to 5 days depending on grass growth.
All crops on the farm other than potatoes are grown as feed for their livestock which is then incorporated as manure back into the soil. This increases the organic matter and positively impacts the soil’s water holding capacity, resulting in richer, healthier fields that increase the likeliness of producing higher yields.
Everything starts with the soil. And for the Francis family, sustainability practices are the key to ensuring the success of Francis Farms for the next generation.
"Every farmer is an environmentalist." - David Francis