2006 OCIA Farmer of the Year
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Awards - Outstanding Farmer of the Year Award

WoolhouseFamilyOCIA Research & Education, Inc. presented the award for Outstanding Organic Farmer of the Year to Dwayne Woolhouse of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, Canada at the banquet after the Annual Membership Meeting in La Crosse, WI. Woolhouse is a member of the OCIA Southwest Saskatchewan Chapter # 8.

Woolhouse, who has been farming for over 30 years, was selected for his dedication to and involvement in the organic industry, innovative farm practices, superior organic management of pests and weeds, and improving soil quality. Other areas for which he was recognized were farm safety practices and harvesting techniques.

In the past three years, Woolhouse has grown durum, black lentils, large green lentils, small red lentils and French green lentils. He has improved soil fertility by using rotations with legumes and by doing green manure plow-downs. Woolhouse stated that is important to him to rotate plow down crops, just as you would rotate crops that are harvested.

“Using different plants gives different benefits when plowed down,” he stated. “Our crop rotations are not carved in stone,” said Woolhouse. “I have tried not to have any black fallow on our farm. I believe we should try to keep everything as close to the way mother nature intended,” he said.

Woolhouse also raises bison that fit nicely into the farming operation. The bison allows him to make use of land unsuitable for farming, such as hills and sloughs. Natural breeding and the humane treatment of animals is an important aspect of his operation.

“We don’t castrate, or even wean our herd. I believe that they know what works best for them. When we slaughter an animal, it is done on our farm to alleviate stress for the animal,” said Woolhouse. Woolhouse has invented a machine for clipping weeds off his lentil crops. After several years of work and lots of experimentation, he has had success in reducing the number of weeds in his crops. He has also invented a machine for scorching Canada thistle patches.

Farm safety is a critical aspect of his farming operation. Everyone wears steel-toed boots while working and harnesses are required when working heights. Woolhouse will be providing a first-aid course and CPR training for his farm workers.

Woolhouse and his wife Jeanne have four children. Therin, 24 years, has come home to farm with his father and plans on opening a meat cutting shop on the farm. Dillon, 22 years, also has expressed continued interest in farming. Their son Carter, 19 years, is a student at University of Regina and Chelsea, 17 years, is a high school student.

Honorable Mention

Ian V. Cushon of Oxbow, Saskatchewan, Canada and Delbert Pratt of Nashua, Iowa received honorable mention.

Cushon, a member of OCIA Saskatchewan Chapter #4, has been certified since 1989. His rotation consists of flax, lentils, wheat, oats, alfalfa and rye. Cushon works actively with the research community. He is developing minimal disturbance seed techniques and is experimenting with different intercrop combinations.

Pratt, a member of OCIA Iowa Chapter #4, has been certified since 1995. He uses a bean/corn/small grain rotation on his farm and a rye cover crop. The use of corn-detasslers is his latest innovation for weed control. Pratt said, “The machines remove the weeds that have grown higher than the corn and beans.” He times his planting late in the spring to aid in the crop drying process.

Last Updated on Monday, 28 February 2011 13:43