Farmers Forum staff
TORONTO — Lynn Leavitt tackled the problem of on-farm plastic waste, an effort that recently earned him the Beef Farmers of Ontario’s 2023 Environmental Stewardship Award
To deal with used bale wrap, silage bags and twine, Leavitt — a Prince Edward County Black Angus beef producer — created the Pac-It compactor and launched U-Pac AgriServices to assist other farmers with plastic recycling. The service started in Quinte region but has since expanded across the province — gathering, compacting and transporting 225,000 pounds of scrap farm plastic to a licenced Ontario recycling plant. Of that amount, about 30,000 pounds have been compacted at Leavitt’s own Picton-area farm.
He was honoured Feb. 22 at the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) annual general meeting banquet in Toronto.
His compactors — and their blueprints — are available to farmers across the province. “This tool has the potential to change the way ag plastic is recycled on farms. It makes recovery, transport, and recycling significantly more efficient and cost effective,” said Christine Lajeuness, Eastern Director of Cleanfarms, a non-profit organization committed to environmental responsibility through the proper management of agricultural plastics.
Leavitt regularly presents at events all over Ontario and has consulted on pilot projects in northern Ontario and Bruce County, as well as municipalities in Quebec. His environmental solution was previously awarded the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation as well as the 2022 Don Hill Legacy Award.
Mapleseed Pasture Award
The banquet also saw Grey County producer Tom Aikins awarded the 2023 Mapleseed Beef Pasture Award by the seed company, the BFO, and the Ontario Forage Council.
Aikins was recognized for environmental improvements and exceptional pasture management at his Ravenna-area farm. He’s a relatively new farmer and doesn’t come from a farming background. As a young teenager, he developed a keen interest in agriculture and, at age 19, rented his first farm.