Cavendish Farms hosted its 31st Annual Growers’ Banquet on Friday, November 23. Growers from across Prince Edward Island, as well as from New Brunswick, gathered together as the growing season came to an end. The banquet celebrates the contributions of local farmers, recognizes the top growers of 2017-2018, and this year, included the inaugural Cavendish Farms Growing Green Award.
MacAulay Farms Inc. was recognized as Top Grower for 2017-2018. MacAulay Farms is from Chepstow, near Souris. Chris MacAulay and his father Paul operate the farm. Chris is a fourth-generation farmer and represents a heritage of over 100 years of farming. Chris and his wife Lisa accepted the award in front of 330 people at the banquet.
First row from left to right: Jubs Bristow, Vice President Agricultural, Cavendish Farms; David Sweet, Sweet Farms Inc. (9th place); Shawn Birch, Birch Farms Ltd. (6th place); Chris MacAulay, MacAulay Farms Inc. (1st place); Ralph Rennie, Bloise Rennie Farms Ltd. (2nd place); Karl Smallman, Triple S Farms, Ltd. (3rd place); and Robert K. Irving, President, Cavendish Farms.
Second row from left to right: Andy Toombs, Bedeque Farms Ltd. (4th place); Kevin Murray, Murray Farms Ltd. (10th place); Gordon McKenna, Country View Farms Ltd. (5th place); Andrew Lawless, R & L Farms Inc. (7th place) et Troy Rennie, Dock Corner Farms Ltd. (8th place).
The first annual Cavendish Farms Growing Green Award was presented to Spud Limited for having demonstrated significant attention to environmental sustainability in potato farming. Carson Adams accepted the award on behalf of Spud Ltd. Carson works with his father Bruce Adams. Carson is the third generation in the family business representing over 50 years of farming.
“Too often, people don’t understand all the work that farmers do to take care of the environment. Cavendish Farms and its contract growers are committed to the environment,” said Jubs Bristow, Vice President of Agriculture for Cavendish Farms. “That is why we established the Cavendish Farms Growing Green Award a year ago, to help growers demonstrating environmental leadership get the recognition and support they deserve.”
| From left to right: Jubs Bristow, Vice President Agricultural, Cavendish Farms; Robert K. Irving, President, Cavendish Farms; Carson Adams, Spud Limited, recipient of first Cavendish Farms Growing Green Award; and John MacQuarrie, Director of Environmental Sustainability.
It is no secret that the 2018 season was another difficult one for Island growers due to challenging weather events. The lack of rain in the summer threatened the crop and impacted both the quality and the size of potatoes. The fall’s heavy rain and early snow significantly impacted harvest, resulting in difficult conditions, lower yields, and crops stuck frozen in the ground.
During the evening, many speakers noted the selflessness of farmers to get as many acres harvested as possible. “It was a very challenging season, but growers came together and helped one another,” said Robert K. Irving, President of Cavendish Farms. “We depend on PEI growers to provide quality products for our customers. On behalf of everyone at Cavendish Farms, thank you for your outstanding efforts!”
“Many acres were dug by willing and able neighbours,” added Mr. Bristow. “As a processor and as a neighbour, a sincere and grateful thank you for those efforts. Every extra acre that was dug helped both the farmer and Cavendish Farms, and that’s one less load that needs to come from off Island.”
This tough year for Island farmers also impacts Cavendish Farms. Growers aren’t the only ones feeling the impact of the changing climate. The poor results from this year’s harvest means Cavendish Farms will need to import millions of pounds of potatoes to fulfill its contracts.
“We’ve witnessed it again this year,” said Mr. Irving. “Climate is changing, and we need to take action. Agriculture is the backbone of Prince Edward Island’s economy. Government, growers, industry and scientists need to work together to find solutions that will ensure the long-term viability of the potato industry.”
Cavendish Farms is an Island-born company – proudly part of Canada’s largest potato producing province for over 40 years. Today it accounts for over 2,900 direct, indirect and induced year-round jobs on PEI that provide an estimated $127 million in related wages (2017 data). In 2017, it purchased over $310 million in local goods and services from Island businesses.
For more information:
Mary Keith, VP of Communications
J.D. Irving, Limited