Middlesex County pork and cash crop famer Jim Denys is Ontario’s soil champion.
Denys won the award from the Ontario Soil and Crop Association last month in recognition of his farm’s work to control nutrient run-off, incorporate cover crops, and build soil structure and organic matter. Work his father started in the 1990s with no-till wheat continued with Denys now planning a transition to controlled-traffic farming, which aims to reduce compaction by heavy equipment by keeping machinery moving through the same lanes, keeping compaction to a limited area.
“The goal is to run a profitable business while taking care of the soil — they’re not mutually exclusive,” he said.
This year’s other winner is OMAFRA’s soil management specialist Anne Verhallen, most recognized in farm country for her work in the Soil Your Undies campaign, which encouraged famers to test their soil health by burying cotton underwear in the field. A healthy field with lots of microbes should make short work of it.
Nominations for this year’s winner or winners can be submitted up to Nov. 1, 2019. Visit ontariosoilcrop.org for more information.