A beef farming pilot program offered at College Boreal celebrated its course completion on Aug.16 at the Kapuskasing Demonstration Farm with a BBQ for all students and participants.
According to Director of College Boreal's Kapuskasing campus Michelle Lebel, the Beef Farming program came into existence through the Growing Forward 2 initiative.
“ Growing Forward 2 is funds that beef farmers of Ontario received from the provincial government to further expand the beef market here in the north,” Lebel said. “With them we thought to create an introduction to beef farming course, that we launched first with members of First Nations Kashechewan.”
She said that the seven-week program saw the participants go through various modules that included a variety of topics covered with different experts such as Kapuskasing Demonstration Farm tenant Andrew Gordanier, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs representative Barry Potter, and Michelle Lamontagne of FEDNOR, among others.
“With Andrew they did herd management and health from birth to the time the animals leave this farm as well as the daily routines on the farm,” she said. “They learned marketing and types of financing with Michelle Lamontagne of FEDNOR and North Claybelt, and they also did a week with Barry Potter from OMAFRA learning about pasture management.”
Lebel said that they tried to incorporate as much as possible in the limited time available.
“We wanted kind of an introduction and overview of the different aspects you'd need to know to work on a farm.”
Participation in the program was great, Lebel said, with an active group.
“Everyone has been very involved, coming to the farm every day rain or shine and enjoying the whole course.”
She said that the college hopes to continue the content and make it available again, as well as for other farms and communities.
“We're hoping more people realize that this is available and if they were interested and other farmers are interested in having farmhands participate in this program to give us a call and we'd be happy to have more training.”