CHARLOTTETOWN – A Spring Valley, P.E.I. farm is the 2013 recipient of the Gilbert R. Clements Award for Excellence in Environmental Farm Planning.
Arthur Cousins & Sons Inc., nominated by the Kensington North Watersheds Association received the award at the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture’s Annual Meeting. This award, named after the late environment minister, is given annually to a farm which is economically viable, environmentally sound and socially responsible in the production and/or marketing of high quality food from a sustainable system.
Arthur Cousins began his farm in Darnley in the 1950s, since that time it has grown into a large potato and beef operation, with his sons, Donald and Brian, continuing his commitment to environmental stewardship today.
The Cousins’ have incorporated strip cropping and winter cover crops as means to slow water runoff and reduce soil erosion. They consistently practice a three-year crop rotation of potatoes, cereals and clover. They are long-time proponents of soil health, particularly maintaining organic matter levels in soil, which they accomplish through regular manure applications and the inclusion of hay in their crop rotation.
They employ the use of berms and grassed waterways on their farm and are supporters of and participants in riparian zone tree planting.
The Cousins’ are members of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture and are participants in the Alternative Land Use Program (ALUS), the Enhanced Environmental Farm Plan Program and the province’s Nutrient Management Program.
They are regular attendees of their local public watershed meetings and Brian is a member of the Kensington North Watershed Association’s Southwest River Nitrate Stakeholders Committee. 2012 was the second year they cooperated with Dr. Robert Coffin in his nitrogen field trials, providing fields for Dr. Coffin’s study in nitrogen use in potatoes and opening their farm to field tours.