St. Marys Farm Family Wins Prestigious Environmental Stewardship Award



    TORONTO, Feb. 20 /CNW/ - The Ontario Cattlemen's Association (OCA) is
pleased to announce that Dwain and Nancy Smith and family are the winners of
this year's Environmental Stewardship Award (TESAward), sponsored by RBC Royal
Bank and OCA. The award was presented at the OCA Annual General Meeting on
February 20th, by Sheila Smart of RBC Royal Bank.
    Dwain Smith is a third generation cattle producer from St. Marys, Ontario
and, along with his wife Nancy and their children Brittany, Michael and
Zachary, were nominated for the award by Craig Merkley, Conservation Services
Specialist with the Upper Thames Conservation Authority and David Ainslie, a
retired high school teacher from the area. The Smiths own and operate a beef
farm in the south end of Perth County near the town of St. Marys. The farm is
located on 100 acres of rolling land with two watercourses running across the
property.
    "We're extremely excited and appreciative to receive this award," says
Dwain. "On our farm, we make it a priority to raise top quality cattle -
economically and feasibly - in an environmentally responsible manner, and in a
setting which is enjoyable to ourselves, the producer and to the cattle we
raise."
    The Smith family has made numerous enhancements on-farm to improve their
pastures and quality of life for their livestock. They have limited access to
water ways while making use of a water pump to provide their cattle with
clean, fresh water. By rotating their grazing land it has allowed for pastures
to better rejuvenate resulting in more grazing days per acre. There is limited
access to rivers; this has allowed the banks to stabilize promoting better
fish habitats and less river bank erosion. More cement yards and the use of
eaves troughs has improved run-off and erosion problems as well as eliminating
stream contamination. The Smiths have cleaned ditches and added windbreaks to
prevent flooding and erosion problems. Their manure storage system eliminated
the need to spread during the winter months minimizing contamination through
runoff.
    The Smiths have also been involved in various workshops, courses and
organizations to increase their awareness of food safety as it pertains to
cattle production and cropping practices. They have completed the Verified
Beef Production - Quality Starts Here workshop, Livestock Medicines Education
Program course, Pesticide Safety course, and have documented and completed
both the Environmental Farm Plan and Nutrient Management Plan.
    In the past, the Smiths have hosted an open house on-farm which gave
guests the opportunity to hear Jack Kyle, Grazier Specialist for OMAFRA, speak
about the benefits of rotational grazing. Attendees were able to see Smith's
rotational grazing operation up close. Dwain was also a guest speaker at the
2006 Grazing Profitability seminar speaking about his experience shifting from
traditional grazing to controlled grazing.
    In his nomination letter, Craig Merkley writes "I feel Dwain provides
good examples for others to follow. Through his work the water quality in the
Thames River will benefit locally and on a watershed scale".
    The Smiths will go on to represent Ontario at the National Environmental
Stewardship Award competition to be held August 11th-15th, in Winnipeg,
Manitoba.

    
     TESAward recognizes the outstanding environmental stewardship of an
     Ontario cattleman. Special consideration is given to producers who
       have taken innovative approaches to environmentally sustainable
                             cattle production.

     The deadline for applications for the 2009 Environmental Stewardship
                         Award is November 28, 2008.
     For details visit the OCA Web site at www.cattle.guelph.on.ca after
                                 March 1st.
    





For further information:

For further information: Lianne Appleby, Ontario Cattlemen's
Association, (519) 824-0334; Dwain and Nancy Smith, 2008 TESA Winners, (519)
615-4637; Sheila Smart, RBC Royal Bank, (519) 376-2441

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Ontario Cattlemen's Association

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