Bainsville farmer parks plow - wins award

Todd Lihou
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Bainsville farmer Shawn McRae, left, is the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario's 2012 Innovative Farmer of the Year. McRae was honoured for his innovative farming techniques at the organization's annual conference in London on Feb. 28. McRae accepted the honour from BASF Canada's Trevor Latta during the event.

A Bainsville area farmer has been recognized for bringing innovation to his oats and bean operation.

Each year, the BASF Innovative Farmer of the Year Award is presented to an Ontario producer who has used new farming practices and demonstrated leadership within their community and the Ontario agriculture sector. This year's recipient is Shawn McRae, a Bainsville area producer of corn, dry beans, soybeans, oats and barley.

McRae was presented with the award at a ceremony this week.

Trevor Latta, BASF Business Representative, presented McRae with the award at the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario event in London, on February 28.

"BASF is proud to support innovation and sustainability in agriculture," said Trevor Latta, a BASF business representative. "It's great that we can recognize farmers like Shawn who are taking an innovative approach to managing the challenges of farming."

McRae, an early adopter of no-till farming, has been working for more than 20 years to find better methods for soil management on his farm in Bainsville. He has spent countless hours modifying seeding equipment for no-till planting. Since 1988, the McRaes have used no-till and ridge-till seeding equipment without any fall tillage and almost always direct seeds into undisturbed crop and cover crop residues.

McRae does make an exception for strategic mulch tillage in spring before planting corn with RTK GPS auto-steer guidance to re-establish straight rows and guess rows.

"I've always said I would be no good at a plowing match because I never learned how to use a mouldboard plow," says McRae, whose father, Ron, permanently parked his eight-furrow plow in 1983. "My goal has always been to find better methods for soil and financial management and to develop a system that eliminates soil erosion and improves soil, water and food quality."

The annual Innovative Farmer of the Year Award is sponsored by BASF Canada, and is presented every year at the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario conference in February.

Organizations: BASF Canada, Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario

Geographic location: Bainsville, Ontario, London

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