Bouctouche, N.B.-The National Farmers Union spoke out clearly at the NFU Region 1 Convention on August 7 against the closure of the Hervé J. Michaud Experimental Farm in Bouctouche. Members attending from the three Maritime Provinces were unanimous in passing a resolution to maintain the research facility and all other federal experimental farms currently slated for closure under federal cost-cutting measures. The Hervé J. Michaud Experimental Farm was opened in 1982 and has since been operated by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, providing essential services to many farmers in Kent County and beyond.
Three further resolutions passed by general farm organization addressed specific concerns of livestock producers in the Maritimes, while another requested that the NFU nationally lobby the federal government to stop using monies collected through employment insurance premiums for other purposes than assisting those affected by shortages of work. Other resolutions included a strong expression of support for Atlantic fishermen in their struggle to establish fair prices for their products.
The meeting, held at the Duneview Inn/L’Auberge Vue de la Dune in Bouctouche, focused discussions on opportunities for sustainable production in an ever-changing marketplace. Illustrating the theme, host Chef Carson Edwards prepared a lunch buffet sourced mainly from his organic garden, then led delegates on a tour of the farm, which supplies organic vegetables to the Duneview’s dining room, Carson’s Organic Market on site, and a stall at the Dieppe Farm Market.
Keynote speakers Sally and Mark Bernard of Barnyard Organics, Freetown, PE,highlighted the successes and challenges they have faced in diversifying their farm. Winners of the 2012Atlantic Outstanding Young Farmer Award,the Bernards explained the importance of integrating crops and livestock from a systems perspective on an organic farm. Despite some market challenges, these energetic young farmers continue to mold their business into a successful family operation.
Afternoon elections returned Region 1 Director Randall Affleck of Prince Edward Island and Betty Brown of New Brunswick to the NFU national board. Returning to regional board positions were Marion Drummond (PE) as Women’s Advisory member; Reg Phelan (PE) on the International Program Committee; and Farrah Carter (NB) to the Youth Advisory Committee.
The NFU is a general farm organization representing agricultural producers from all commodities across Canada. It has worked with farm families in New Brunswick for over 40 years.
Jean-Eudes Chiasson, President, Rogersville (506) 775-6033
Melanie Jellett, Executive Director, Murray Corner (506) 538-1189