By Connor Lynch
CLARENCE-ROCKLAND — A small-scale farmer at Bourget, east of Ottawa, wants to be your farm’s succession plan.
Born and raised on a farm in Nova Scotia, 34-year-old Harding Nelson didn’t get a chance to take over his family farm. His uncle, who has children of his own, was the lucky one.
After graduating university, Nelson went into the military. Currently an air force sergeant, he also spent some time in the army. He’s served 15 years, which means in 10 more he can collect his pension. He’ll only be 44 and he’s itching to make use of his extra time.
He’d always felt a draw back to farming, and made the leap in 2014. He’s raising a family on the farm with his wife Emilie and their three kids under age five. Normally being in the military he’d have to plan on being mobile. But he signed up with the reserve forces, so he doesn’t get shuffled around anymore.
He’s farming 30 acres, raising chickens and beef cattle. He’d like to expand and said he’s not afraid to spend money but buying nearby land is out of his price range. “There’s about three different large farms around us. You see the sign go up (that there’s land for sale) and then it’s a race for the big guys to scoop it up.”
Area land is selling for about $10,000 an acre.
Nelson wants to find an operation he can take over in the Ottawa-area, no more than a 90 minute drive away from the capital. He’s looking for a cash crop operation so he can learn that business. Ideally, he’ll find an older couple looking to get out of the business and set up a plan for him to phase into operations. He said he’ll use his pension to stabilize his income as he moves into farming full-time. He’s not much for retirement. “I don’t ever intend on taking a boat out on the water. I want to farm until I die.”