More than 500 producers, representing over 100 farm businesses, attended the Quebec Order of Merit for Agriculture Competition Gala at the Hilton Lac-Leamy Conference Centre in Gatineau, September 19. An initiative of the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ), the competition recognizes the expertise and work of people involved in agriculture and encourages the development of a dynamic, innovative industry.
The competition (est. 1890) takes place in five territories of Quebec, rotating through each every year. The Laurentides, Montréal-Laval-Lanaudière and the Outaouais were the regions covered for 2018.
Competitors fill out a lengthy entry form, and then receive a visit from three agronomist judges who evaluate production management, environmental protection, strategic development, financial and human resources, and
community involvement. A photographer also visits the farm in order to gather photos and videos to be shown at the Gala to highlight each business.
Among the Pontiac winners, RM Lang (Clarendon), Cedar Creek Trout Farm (Clarendon) and Paul Amyotte (Mansfield-et-Pontefract) all received silver medals. “We’re very honoured to have won silver in the Outaouais region, which is in part due to our 10 employees who work hard to make our business run smoothly. We chose to enter because it’s a great way to showcase our farm and see how it is doing compared to others in Quebec. It also helps to showcase the Pontiac region to the rest of the province,” said Ralph Lang, owner of RM Lang farm.
Maude-Emmanuelle Lambert and Pavel Khol of Domaine du Pontiac Village vineyard (Municipality of Pontiac) won a bronze medal as well as Willow Lane Alpacas (Bristol). “It was a great opportunity to get a picture of where we are at as a small farm, and to have our practices evaluated by neutral judges to see if we are on the right track. They look at everything, from your books to your pastures!” said Willow Lane owner, Gayle Graham.
Other local bronze medal winners were Ferme Blueridge (Pontiac), Ferme Stépido (Pontiac), S. Adams et A. Gillespie (Clarendon), June Riebertz (Clarendon), Houblonnière Lupiline Hop Yard (L’Isle-aux-Allumettes), Shady Lane Swiss (Shawville), and Houblonière Mireille Allard Hop Yard (L’isle-aux-Allumettes).
The first local farmer to score a bronze medal was Edward Graham of Elmside in 1893. Other bronze medals have been won by Kennedy McBane (S. Onslow) in 1968, and George Pirie (Bristol) in 1978. S. Wyman Mackechnie (Wyman) won gold in 1953