Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

Day 6: Agricultural tours and a rare rain

Our class started the day with a goal - to make it through six stops and return at the end of the day with all the windows on the bus!

After a short drive through the city of Rancagua we arrived at the Regional Ministry of Agriculture. The primary focus of the ministry is on the development and improvement of small (12 hectares and less) and mid-size (50 to 75 hectare) farms. We learned that small farms account for 25% of the land but represent 75% of total farmers. In the O'Higgins Region, many of the farms have switched to producing fruit and vegetables because it is much more profitable.

Our next stop brought us to SAG (Chilean Agricultural and Livestock Service). SAG inspects all fruits and vegetables prior to export to the US, Canada and other countries. Since 1982 an operative agreement has been in place between USDA and Chile so that through inspection insects and disease are prevented from being transported into import countries.

Continuing on, we were happily greeted by Francisco with some cold "cervesas" in a circled square bale seating area. He told us about his small 12 hectare organic farm that produces a unique pear for French markets, raises a new breed of sheep for the meat market and grows and feeds alfalfa. The size of the farm is not sustainable on its own so Francisco and his wife work off-farm in non-agricultural professions. With Francisco's farewell and invitation to visit again soon, we packed on the bus to head to a traditional Chilean restaurant.

Our mouths watered as we dug into our main entrees which consisted of sweet corn meat pie - none of us had ever tasted anything like it! Of course no Chilean meal would be complete without dessert, and we were served with a small mountain of fresh fruit! During lunch we all jumped out of our seats when we heard a loud strike of thunder and the start of rain. What we thought would be a "million dollar rain" in an area experiencing a long drought actually cost most of the farmers millions of dollars in lost income. Little did we know that the rain would put many fruit farms at risk for mold in their crops.

Arriving at The Ponderosa Land, owner and operator Martin Compton was one of the most inspiring individuals whom we've had the pleasure to meet on this trip. He shared with us the history of how he and many other farmers acquired their land in the early 80's and the successes and failures he experienced and will "never forget!”. When asked what he defined as wealth he responded: "If you live a happy life and experience the joys, you are a wealthy man".

Finally, we found ourselves surrounded by corn, green beans, kiwis, blueberry plants, grape vineyards and a far sight of the Andes mountain range after the heavy rain. The heat and the sun came back quickly and we toured an agricultural high school where 380 students 14 to 18 years of age learn about modern agricultural practices. This school specializes in education on irrigation and students live on the premises to "learn by doing".

Fifteen boxes of pizza awaited 34 thirsty and tired travellers to cap of a great day.

-Class 15

Views: 293

Comment

You need to be a member of Ontario Agriculture to add comments!

Join Ontario Agriculture

Agriculture Headlines from Farms.com Canada East News - click on title for full story

Strike at the Olymel pork processing plant in Vallée-Jonction : while Olymel accepts a proposal for a settlement from the conciliator, the union slams the door

Olymel management announces that it has today accepted a settlement proposal from the conciliation team assigned to the file by the Quebec Ministry of Labor and Social Solidarity in the context of the conflict between the company and the Union of Olymel Workers in Vallée-Jonction (CSN) at its slaughtering, cutting and boning plant in Vallée-Jonction.

Minister Bibeau and MP Lauzon announce significant investment to boost production at La Fromagerie Montebello

The Canadian dairy sector is a vital pillar of rural communities and a key driver of the economy.

Seven organizations receive federal support to improve food security in Eastern Ontario

An increasing number of Canadians have faced challenges in putting food on their tables due to COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, too many Canadians were struggling to access safe and healthy food.

Taking Action for Ontario’s Tender Fruit Growers

The Government of Ontario is investing $867,484 to support Ontario Tender Fruit Growers in purchasing branded display bins to make it easier for consumers to identify delicious, locally grown tender fruit at their local grocery stores.

Minister Bibeau and MP Lauzon announce support to improve food security in Saint-André-Avellin

The Government of Canada is committed to helping communities invest in infrastructure that will improve their food security and increase access to healthy, nutritious and ideally local foods for families in need.

© 2021   Created by Darren Marsland.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service