This Ontario Family Expanded Their Farm By Growing Potatoes
Looking for a way to expand and diversify their farming enterprise, the Buys family of Thorndale, Ontario purchased land in Burford in 2011, 550 acres of which are potatoes. All the varieties they grow are suitable for the potato chip industry and chip factories from the GTA obtain the majority of this harvest, although they do have sales south of the border as well.
The Buys family have deployed many innovations around their farm, with storage upgrades being the most recent addition. Their new seed storage facility has mooij agro controls and allows careful control of temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels all the while reducing their power bill as a result of frequency drive on the ventilation fans. The majority of their potato farming specialised equipment is purchased from Europe.
Proud of the industry’s growth as a whole, Burford Acres Farm Manager John Buys feels that the industry has “evolved a lot in terms of greater quality standards being met by all farms in the industry and greater food traceability.” He goes on to say that “the advancements in precision farming are incredible, including the advancements in gps and variable rate fertilizer applications that we are now able to have done in accordance to our soil optix mapping results.”
Although the Buys family purchased this land a little over a decade ago, they have been gaining knowledge and skill in farming at their family farm in Thorndale since 1979. In addition to the potatoes grown at Burford Acres, they and their employees also produce IP soybeans, corn, wheat, dark red kidney beans and various cover crops.
Buys does foresee future challenges with government regulations as well as situations both economic and political that could arise that are out of the control of Canadian Farmers, but Buys loves farming irregardless of its unpredictability because he enjoys the challenge and fun of the industry and sights the opportunity to work with family as a huge reward. Like so many farmers, a high quality harvest is a source of deep pride: “There is also great satisfaction” ethuses John, “when we are able to harvest and ship a great crop that we have carefully cared for all year long.”