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Hemp Grain Harvest
Hemp Grain Harvest
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About The Farm

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Working the historical Stone family farm, the business has navigated over a century of operations in the dairy, poultry, beef and cash crop industries and is into the fourth generation. Beef production has been the main business for that past thirty-five years the farm now, facing the current struggles of the beef market the farm is adjusting and downsizing its beef production. This has freed up production acres and they are being put to some innovative new uses. Now targeting higher value specialty grain crops such as hemp, a new connection is being made with the land. Multiple drivers govern the decision making process. The concern isn’t solely on yield and economic efficiency, but also balancing the ecological impacts our decisions have on our land and eco-system. We pride ourselves on implementing creative solutions that advance our goals to improve the environmental and economic situation on our farm and in the community.

Advance planning has already begun in anticipation that the farm will have higher energy requirements as it expands its field crop production. In order to avoid increasing use of fossil fuels and rising energy costs, 10 acres of switchgrass has been planted, this will soon displace the equivalent of 120 barrels of oil energy, used for crop drying and space heating. This thinking started back in 2004 when the farm began using biodiesel in its operations. Over the past five years we have begun transitioning away from diesel, instead supplementing our fuel supply with renewable biodiesel, thus greatly reducing our carbon footprint while allowing us to continue field cropping. We have invested heavily in equipment that allows us to increase our biodiesel use. Along with biofuels, the potential for bioproducts is growing. Hemp fiber is now available at the farm and opening other doors for bio-composite and building materials, as we continue to learn how to best manage the fiber.
 
In the direction that these new enterprises are taking the business it has become apparent that certified organic production is a key element. The certified organic system has built in quality control that is integral to the high quality food products that are produced from the farms production. The organic system bans the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and GMO products, while demanding intense record keeping. The farm has now converted 220 acres of land to organic production, currently about one third of the farm’s working acres. Banned products are also being reduced on remaining conventional lands, integrating organic type practices that are showing they can compete with rising conventional crop input costs. Intercropping, relay cropping, and manure crops are working their way into the rotation and benefits are being measured. Striving to use the triple bottom line business model measures not just economics but also environmental and social factors.
 
Currently, Reuben is actively involved trying to influence the future of agriculture and energy in the county.  He has spoken most recently at The Arnprior 100 Mile Dinner detailing the potential effects of changing to a locally based food and fuel system. Reuben also regularly delivers presentations on agricultural energy systems and innovation. In summer 2007 Reuben was one of the founding members of the Ottawa Valley Food Co-operative, an innovative Internet based farmers market that uses an organized logistics system that allows buyers form throughout the county order and receive local products in an efficient manner. The co-ops system is increasing local food revenues while reducing vehicle mileage and emissions. Reuben has been a director of the co-op since it was incorporated, and helped steer it as it grows along with the rest of the board. In the summer of 2009 the efforts of the OVFC were recognized with a regional Premier’s Award for Agri-food Innovation. In the spring of 2010 Reuben joined the board of the Renfrew County Federation of Agriculture.
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