Eight residents from Kashechewan First Nation are participating in an eight-week training program to learn how to farm beef cattle.
The program — called Introduction to Beef Cattle Farming in Northern Ontario — is an initiative of the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO), the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the participation of the Kashechewan First Nation, and the Kapuskasing campus of Collège Boréal.
Using both theory and practice, the pilot project introduces participants to the key principles of responsible beef production at the Kapuskasing Demonstration Farm. Students gain technical skills that will help them succeed in obtaining work on a beef farm or lead them to consider starting their own beef operation.
Collège Boréal is collaborating on the project with Andrew Gordanier, farm tenant at the Kapuskasing Demonstration Farm, and the Kapuskasing Economic Development Corporation, to help expand agriculture production in the region.
"For many reasons, BFO has identified Northern Ontario as an ideal region to expand beef production in the province. Providing educational opportunities and resources for those who are interested in raising beef cattle is a priority for BFO,” said Matt Bowman, president of BFO, in a release.
“Our collaboration with Collège Boréal, the Kashechewan First Nation and the Kapuskasing Demonstration Farm will provide students with the opportunity to explore beef production and the economic and environmental benefits it provides to Northern communities.”
Collège Boréal president Daniel Giroux noted that the college is the only post-secondary institution offering an agriculture program in Northern Ontario, which is why it made sense for the school to partner on the project.
“Together, we can support the continued development of this industry, which requires a variety of specialized skills,” Giroux said. “This is an excellent beginning!”
This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.