SHALLOW LAKE— A Grey County family of bison farmers are the 2021 recipients of the Ontario Pasture Award for their unique regenerative farming methods.
The award recognizes producers implementing outstanding pasture management strategies that maximize production per acre.
Mark and Heather Shouldice, owners of Big Rock Bison, raise 140 fully grass-fed bison on 150 acres of pastureland divided into nine paddocks. They practice year-round rotational grazing and each paddock is given enough time to regrow before the bison return to it. During the winter, the bison are fed hay from the same land.
The pasture is not grazed below four inches in forage height to maintain plant health, soil fertility, and avoid erosion. Neither pesticides nor herbicides are used.
Not a single part of the animal goes to waste at Big Rock Bison. Meat, decorative hides, and skulls are sold, the organs go to a raw dog food company, and the bones go to a specialty dog bone company.
The Shouldice family will receive a reward of $250 and a 25 kg bag of Mapleseed forage mix. The award is sponsored by Mapleseed and the Ontario Forage Council.