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Durham Agricultural Advisory Committee (DAAC)

2012 Farm Tour

Herralea FarmsThe Durham Agricultural Advisory Committee (DAAC) successfully hosted its 10th annual Durham Region Farm Tour – “Innovation and Technology on the Farm” on Sept. 12, 2012 at Parbro Farms Limited in the Township of Scugog. More than 100 participants representing government, public agencies, education, media and the public attended the event. Participants had the opportunity to engage in dialogue directly with farm operators.

The event kicked off with a luncheon featuring local food. Graduates of the Durham Federation of Agriculture’s, Agricultural Leadership Program delivered the keynote address to provide a first-hand glimpse at the future of Durham’s vibrant agricultural industry, while also presenting a unique series of perspectives from this next generation of farmers. The speakers provided information on the number of farms in Durham and their impact on the local economy; identified the need for local processing facilities to help support the industry; emphasized the importance of diversification to keep up with the changing needs of the global market; and provided an overview of the range of public education programs in Durham related to farming, such as Farm Connections and Durham Farm Fresh.

Four demonstration areas were set up across the Parbro Farms property, including:
  • Cooper's FarmFarm Machinery Display – Participants were introduced to several pieces of machinery used for cropping, from manure spreaders to harvesters. Participants gained an appreciation for the amount of capital equipment that is required to successfully run a farming operation.

  • Farm Machinery Test Drives – Local operators donated their time and use of their farm equipment to provide participants with the opportunity to ride along and experience the equipment first hand. The latest in technologies were demonstrated, including GPS locators and self-steer programs that allow tractors to be more precise and less wasteful in the use of fuel, seed and fertilizer.

  • Crop Technology – Representatives from a local seed company were on hand to provide information about the products they develop and produce. Comments centred on the need for drought-resistant seed varieties to deal with climate change, and the variety of products produced by the grain and oilseed grown in Durham.

  • Dairy Barn Tour – In 2011, Parbro Farms completed construction of a new dairy barn that can house up to 120 milk cows and 40 dry cows. Participants learned the importance of bio-security for livestock on farms, and the different technologies employed within this barn. The barn is equipped with an automatic manure system to retain a high level of hygiene for the animals, as well as a robotic feed sweeper that continuously moves the herd’s feed close to the stalls. Participants were also given a tour of the milking parlour, where the cows are milked twice a day.

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.