People in the Chatham-Kent area had the chance to learn more about Ontario Corn Fed Beef when they stopped by Stan Brien’s farm.
Brien took part in a public tour of farms and other agri-businesses in the Ridgetown area Sept.12.
“I have been impressed. The public has been great and they have all been interested in what we are doing,” said Stan Brien of the annual the Round the County Agri-Tour, organized by the Kent Federation of Agriculture.
Brien said he participated in this year’s event as a way to help celebrate the upcoming 100th anniversary of the farm, which has been in Brien’s family since March 1911.
In addition to growing corn, soybeans and wheat, Brien operates a small beef feedlot where he feeds about 50 to 75 steers per year. During the tour, Brien informed the visitors that he buys his cattle from the annual pre-sorted calf sales at the Keady Livestock Market near Owen Sound.
Known as “Calf-O-Rama”, the fall sale features animals supplied by members of four calf clubs. The sales began in 2002 to enable a number of small producers to provide large numbers of uniform, healthy calves that would appeal to feedlot buyers.
Besides discussing his cattle, Brien also promoted Ontario Corn Fed Beef. Noting that he got in “on the ground floor”, Brien is a certified producer for the program.
“It’s proven to be an excellent program. I think it’s the way things have to go. Everything is standardized,” said Brien, referring to the various feeding, health and environmental protocols of the program. “I didn’t really change that much from what I was doing before. Now there is more record-keeping and documentation of what we’re doing. It certainly hasn’t cost me any money to be a Corn Fed Beef farmer.”
As for the record-keeping and food safety training that are required for the program, Brien figures those tasks are part of doing business in today’s cattle industry.
“Consumers want to know where their food comes from and we’re competing against other brands all the time. We have to identify and promote our product, and so this is a way of doing that,” said Brien.