Canadian organic farmers visit Organic Centre Wales and IBERS
Organic Centre Wales and IBERS Gogerddan will host a visit from 15 Canadian organic producers and advisors, interested in organic dairy farming from Quebec, in early April.
Organised and accompanied by Denis La France, one of the tutors from Cégep de Victoriaville, an important and well-established training college in Victoriaville, Quebec, they will be spending a few days in Wales at the end of their two week trip to the UK visiting various enterprises including Organic Centre Wales. Sue Fowler, Director of Organic Centre Wales said “We are looking forward to this visit and hope that we will be able to offer these farmers a comprehensive overview of the current research work at IBERS, in addition to a current picture of organic production and support in Wales.”
As they are also interested in knowledge transfer, they will also be visiting the clover breeding research at IBERS Gogerddan and discussing these with Dr. Heather McCalman, the Manager of the Grassland Development Centre. They will be hearing about PROSOIL, a project that actively seeks farmer participation, linking healthy soils to product quality and covering a wide range of soil types and enterprises across Wales. Information will be available on an arable legume LINK project, using novel legumes to build soil fertility, and there are currently five organic farms in Wales participating in plot work, in addition to the IBERS plots.
Relevant to their interest in organic dairy production will also be a presentation by Dr. Pip Nicholas from IBERS. She will present her current work on the role of animal health plans in medicine reduction in dairy farming.
In addition to their interest in research work, these producers are involved in processing and marketing and their tour in Wales will include a visit to Bwlchwernen Fawr in Llangybi, and a meeting with Calon Wen milk co-operative. They will be visiting other organic farms in England, including Laverstoke Park in Wiltshire and Highgrove Farm in Tetbury.
Their visit to Wales culminates in a dinner at the Treehouse restaurant in Aberystwyth, where they will be meeting other local organic producers and also celebrating the centenary of the well known philosopher E F Schumacher, author of 'Small is Beautiful' and President of the Soil Association in the early 1970s, who died in 1977.
Carolyn Wacher, Organic Centre Wales, 01970 622248,
[Notes for editors]
1. Organic Centre Wales is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government to provide information on organic food and farming to producers, food businesses, consumers and others. It is based at Aberystwyth University and run by a partnership consisting of ADAS Wales, the Organic Research Centre Elm Farm, and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University. www.organiccentrewales.aber.ac.uk
2. Grassland Development Centre, Aberystwyth University, delivers IBERS independent research outcomes, as solutions for beef, sheep and dairy farms across the conventional and organic sectors. www.grassdevcentre.co.uk