2010 OCIA Farmer of the Year
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Awards - Outstanding Farmer of the Year Award

RempelThe Outstanding Organic Farmer of the Year is a yearly award honoring and recognizing talented producers who certify to the Organic Crop Improvement Association's (OCIA) level of excellence. OCIA Research and Education (R&E) is proud to honor Danny Rempel as the 2010 Outstanding Organic Farmer of the Year.

Danny Rempel operates a 1400 acre farm in Hodgeville, Saskatchewan, which has been in his family for over a century. He first became certified organic in 1990 and eventually transitioned 100% of his farm to organic in 1992. Danny has grown the following crops throughout the past three years: wheat, flax, lentils, oats, barley, clover and a mixture of alfalfa and grass that is used for hay and grazing.

As for crop rotation, Danny begins with a plow down of a legume that is sometimes intercropped with oats to increase the biomass; followed by flax in a year or two. Year three sees a lentil crop followed by a cereal (oats, barley, etc...). The cereal is sometimes under seeded to clover to be used for hay or plowdown the following year. According to Rempel, "Our diverse crop rotation helps to control pest and weeds. By growing different crops, this allows you to vary the seeding date. By doing this, you can control different weeds on different years, because som weeds like to grow early and some don't start until later."

Currently, Rempel has 55 beef cattle. He feeds the calves to slaughter weight and sells them as grain-fed, certified organic beef. "I feel that the cattle fit into the farming system by allowing us to either graze or bale areas where we have weed problems," Rempel said. "The manure is aged and spread back onto the land, which provides nutrients for future crops."

Rempel maintains a 28-foot buffer strip seeded to grass around the perimeter of the farm. Over the past 20 years, Rempel has planted over five miles of shelter belt trees in the fields. It is not uncommon to see deer, antelope, moose, coyote, fox, rabbits, various birds, and even the endangered burrowing owl on his farm.

Rempel is heavily involved with OCIA Southwest Saskatchewan Chapter #8 and has served on the Certification Committee for nine years and three of those years as Chairman. He has hosted chapter meetings and field days in his hometown and has also served as voting delegate at OCIA Annual Meetings. "It has been a pleasure to be involved in such a great organization (OCIA). And, more than that, such a great Chapter (Southwest Sask #8)," Rempel said.

Last Updated on Monday, 28 February 2011 13:32