|Back to Home||Feature Article - August 16, 2012|
Serious drought hits farmers and communityby Julie Druker
Photo: Sofia and Natalia Tippin of Perth Road at the Local Beef Promo Day in Verona
Dave and Kim Perry of Perry Maine-Anjou Farms and the Local Family Farms store in Verona once again hosted the Frontenac Cattlemen's Association (FCA) Local Beef Promo Day at their Verona store. Visitors had a chance to meet members of Frontenac 4H Beef Club, to sample and purchase local beef products and to get up close and personal with a few of the Perry's award-winning herd, which recently won numerous awards at the Napanee fair including first place in the breeders herd category. Kingston radio’s KIX FM-93.5 was on site all day and interviewed many of the personalities involved in producing and promoting local beef in the area. Dave Perry is past president of the FCA and director with the National Farmers Union Local 316. He spoke of the importance of the public knowing of the availability of local beef as way to support local farmers, who this year have been facing extra challenges due to the serious drought conditions, a situation Perry said he has not seen since back in 1965, when part of his farm burned as a result of the dryness. “People tend to think that this drought has affected only farmers, when in fact it affects everyone in the community. It's not just the farmers and the gardeners who need rain; it’s everyone who eats food that needs rain. Now more than ever it makes sense for people in the area to buy beef and other produce that is produced and processed in this area. The food miles traveled are much less; the beef and other produce tastes better, and you are supporting local farmers.” Perry said that there is enough beef in the area to satisfy the consumers’ demand and enough processing capacity here as well. He also warned that if the processing plants are not utilized, ultimately they will close down.
Perry, like all local producers, was affected by this summer’s drought. One of the two wells at his farm in Hartington temporarily went dry this year, which meant he had the extra job of hauling water to make sure that his cattle were properly watered. “I know of one farmer in Renfrew who had to sell his 230 head because he couldn't afford to feed them due to the sky rocketing price of grain as a direct result of this drought.”
On a more positive note Perry said that the public is now beginning to source out locally produced food, which is a good thing for him and other local growers in the area. Local Family Farms not only sells a wide selection of local meats and produce but also a wide variety of prepared foods and other locally made products. The store is located on Hwy 38 in Verona.