Third generation dairy farmers chosen
March 17, 2011
Nova Scotia dairy farmers Geoff and Jennifer Bishop are Atlantic Canada’s 2011 Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF). The couple from Round Hill, NS were presented with their award by the Hon. John MacDonell, Nova Scotia Minister of Agriculture at a recent banquet in Moncton, NB. Also in attendance were the Hon. George Webster, PEI Minister of Agriculture, and the Hon. Michael Olscamp, New Brunswick Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, OYF alumni and agri-business representatives. The Bishop’s will represent Atlantic Canada at the national OYF event later this year in Brandon, MB.
From the first dairy cow his grandfather bought in 1970, to the 150 cow Holstein herd he now milks with his wife Jennifer, Geoff Bishop is living his passion for agriculture and ensuring their children experience life growing up on a farm.
“The Bishops demonstrate the real power of planning, setting goals and seeing them through,” says Derrick Rozdeba, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers board member. “The entrepreneurial drive and innovative spirit that Geoff and Jennifer bring to their operation are the very qualities that move Canadian agriculture forward.”
Geoff and Jennifer own Bishop Farms Ltd., a dairy operation located on the farm his grandfather purchased when he emigrated from England to the Annapolis Valley in 1969. The couple first met at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, and after graduation Geoff gathered additional experience on dairy farms in New Zealand and England, before returning home to farm. With a clear focus on goals and innovation, Geoff and Jennifer have made continuous improvements to their operation and their community.
Geoff set out short-term goals when he began farming to improve herd genetics and feeding systems to increase overall milk production. A new dairy barn and milking facility was then added, to make room for up to 200 cows in the milking herd. Energy conservation was high on the list for the new barn – resulting in a fabric structure with natural lighting and ventilation and geo-thermally heated floors. The newest on-farm innovation is a soybean extruder to press oil out of raw beans. The solid byproduct can be fed to the cows and the oil for feed mix or as fuel. Geoff and Jennifer are also exploring the construction of a biogas facility to produce their own on-farm energy.
Giving back to their community is another goal for Geoff and Jennifer. Jennifer – who grew up on a farm in PEI – has always been active in 4-H and ag awareness, and was PEI’s first agricultural education coordinator. They both contribute through associations, community service groups and recreational activities. Jennifer and Geoff are working to instill a passion for agriculture and stewardship of the land with their four children – Luke, Emma, Matthew and Ryan.
Celebrating 31 years of identifying great agricultural successes, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer CropScience and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and supported nationally by AdFarm and Canadian Farm Business Management Council.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2011 will be chosen at the national event in Brandon, MB from November 14-20, 2011.