CHARLOTTETOWN - A Knutsford farm is the 2014 recipient of the Gilbert R. Clements Award for Excellence in Environmental Farm Planning.
Triple S Farms, nominated by the Prince County Chapter of Trout Unlimited, will receive the award at the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture’s Annual Meeting on Jan. 31 at the Confederation Centre. 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.
Triple S Farms is operated by Ken Smallman and his three sons, Wayne Karl and Rodney. The Smallmans began farming in the Knutsford area 82 years ago and today they operate a successful, award winning operation.
They have received many Top Grower Awards for their processing potatoes from McCains. They have also won numerous awards for environmental stewardship. They have won the PEI Soil and Crop Improvement Award for Soil Conservation, the Trout Unlimited Appreciation Award and the P.E.I. Department of Environment’s Environmental Citizen Award.
The Smallmans practice a three-year rotation of potato-grain-hay on the vast majority of their land and strive for a three-year rotation (with an approved Management Plan) on the remainder. Their hay land is mulched which returns organic matter and nutrients to the soil. The straw from the grain crop is also chopped and returned to the soil for the same reason.
The Smallmans have implemented a number of soil conservation structures on their fields such as grasses waterways and farmable berms. All of the major hollows are left in grass and they leave all of their headlands in grass.
The farm is a participant in the Alternative Land Use Program and the Smallmans are advocates for sustainable agriculture by having extra wide buffer zones in their most sensitive areas.
The local watershed group offers acknowledgement for the farm’s environmental stewardship.
“As project coordinator for Trout Unlimited Canada Prince County Chapter I have worked with many individuals over the years on various types of environmental projects,” said Dale Cameron, Watershed Coordinator for the Prince County Chapter of Trout Unlimited. “As one of the larger potato growers in the area, they fully recognize the part their operation plays in the overall environmental health and go above and beyond ensure good environmental stewardship is foremost in their operation. They have worked with TUCPCC on several projects over the years and are always the first to look for new and better options to manage their operation in harmony with the environment. They are very deserving of this award.”