Potato farming on Prince Edward Island is a family business
Potato farming in Prince Edward Island continues to be primarily the domain of family owned and operated farms. 99% of potato farms in PEI are owned by farm families, with some of these families involved in growing potatoes for over 100 years! On many farms, multiple generations work side-by-side in all aspects of the farm operation.
These farm families are committed to producing high quality, nutritious potatoes that are a staple of diets here in Atlantic Canada, as well as markets in the rest of Canada, the United States, and the rest of the world. At the same time, these farm families are employers in their local community, purchase inputs and services from local businesses, and generate a significant amount of economic activity in the province.
In discussions on the topics of Land Protection and Land Use in Prince Edward Island, there has sometimes been a concern expressed over land ownership by “corporations." In the potato industry, approximately 50% of farm operations are incorporated, due to the business benefits of incorporation. Nonetheless, these farm corporations are still overwhelmingly owned and operated by PEI farm families.
Nathan Ching of Black Pond Farms Ltd. near Souris, PEI notes that their farm has been incorporated for close to forty years; however, their farm is still 100% family owned and operated. “Incorporation makes it easier to integrate multiple family members into the ownership of the farm," adds Nathan. “As well, our incorporated status has made it easier to address succession planning for the future. That being said, being a farm corporation doesn’t really change the day-to-day operation of our farm."
As active members of their communities, farm families are also increasingly committed to the importance of land stewardship and environmental sustainability. These families live on the land that they farm and recognize the need to employ environmentally sustainable farming practices. In the same way that overflows of city sewage systems during major rainfall events can make city residents aware of the need to invest in capital upgrades to sewage treatment systems, soil erosion events make farm operations aware of the need to change production practices or to build erosion control structures. Island potato growers are continually adapting their production practices to improve nutrient management, maximizing soil conservation efforts, and using newly developed crop protectants which are significantly safer to the health of humans and the environment.
Prince Edward Island Potatoes are world renowned for the great taste and quality that comes from growing in the unique red soil of PEI. The potato industry in PEI creates a total economic impact of $1.065 billion dollars and directly or indirectly employs over 12% of the Island workforce. The Prince Edward Island Potato Board is a producer-controlled association dedicated to supporting the highest performance of an economically and environmentally sustainable potato industry.
Source: Agripress 09:11:00|26/06/2013