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Durham Agricultural Advisory Committee (DAAC)

2011 Farm Tour

The Durham Agricultural Advisory Committee (DAAC) successfully hosted its ninth annual Durham Region Farm Tour – “Diversification of the Family Farm” on Sept. 15, 2011. The tour highlighted three farms in the Township of Uxbridge–Cooper’s CSA Farm and Corn Maze, Herralea Farms and Zion Farms.

  • Cooper's FarmCooper's Farm and CSA – Established in 1993, initially as a beef cow-calf operation, the operation transformed to meat goats and market garden crops. The farm has grown from a roadside stand operation to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program with 500 participants who pay in advance to receive a weekly basket of fresh fruits and vegetables over the summer. A winter CSA program draws on items in storage and from greenhouse operations. Challenges include retaining additional customers for the CSA program. The owners, Steve and Lisa Cooper, were named Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers in 2010.

  • Herralea FarmsHerralea Farms – This third-generation farming operation was established in 1948 in York Region, and moved to its current location in 1961. The farm, owned by the Herrema family, includes a 60-cow dairy operation and land for grain and oilseed production. In addition to one full-time and three part-time employees, the Herrema's two children are actively involved with the farming operation, while also attending school. The immediate challenge is to improve the efficiency of the operation to be able to handle the increased debt that exists as a result of buying out a family member. The long-term goal is to create an opportunity for the Herrema children, who are the fourth generation of the Herrema farm family, to continue farming.

  • Zion Farms Zion Farms – Established in 1953, this farm moved to its current location in 1966. Originally a partnership of father and sons, the farm is now operated by Steve and Donna Denouden. In 2008, the farm transformed from a 150-cow dairy operation to a beef feed-lot and cash crop operation. The former dairy buildings have been converted to accommodate approximately 1,500 head of beef cattle annually. Challenges include commodity prices and obtaining suitable financing. The Denouden's plan is to continue with the current operation for years to come.

Participants in this year's tour included representatives from various levels of government, the educational sector and public agencies. Attendees had the opportunity to meet and hear from agricultural leaders, ask questions, and learn firsthand about issues and trends affecting Durham's vital agricultural industry. Approximately 75 people took part in the event.