OFA Russell County tour
Dignitaries, members of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and other guests gathered for a photo at the Ferme laitière Sylvimarc, in Casselman, on Sun., July 23.       Courtesy photo

Michel Dignard
Special to The Villager
CASSELMAN / ST. ALBERT – The Ontario Federation of Agriculture organized an outing on Sun., July 23, to highlight the rich nourishing lands and dairy operations in Russell County. Dignitaries on this tour included Grant Crack, MPP of Glengarry, Prescott and Russell; Nathalie Des Rosiers, MPP Ottawa-Vanier; Camille Marcil, assistant to Nathalie Des Rosiers; Marie-France Lalonde, MPP Ottawa-Orleans and Jeremy Gauthier, assistant to Francis Drouin, MP; as well as members of the OFA and guests. The day started out with a visit to the dairy farm, Ferme laitière Sylvimarc, in Casselman. Owners Jean-Marc and Sylvianne Drouin started their adventure in 1985, and now the farm is continuing with the 4th generation, which includes their sons Jeremy and Alex. They have 90 dairy cows with a quota of 110 kg/day and they work 500 acres of land, which is primarily used to feed their cattle. The new barn was built in 2016 with two milking robots from De Laval.

Following the visit at Ferme laitière Sylvimarc, the group made their way to the St-Albert Cheese Cooperative for lunch and a guided tour. Founded on Jan. 8, 1894, it is one of the oldest cooperatives in Canada. Over the years, their cheeses have won many prizes at national and international competitions, particularly at Toronto’s Royal Winter Fair, the Spencerville Fair, at the British Empire Cheese Show, and at the Grand Prix des fromages canadiens. After the Feb. 3, 2013 fire that consumed the Cooperative, it re-opened two years later to the day, on Feb. 3, 2015, with a new facility, and now employs 150 employees. During lunch, the MPPs were able to speak with the members present about the issues concerning them – the cost of electricity, the need for natural gas and infrastructures in rural areas as well as the increase in the minimum wage. All in all, the day was a success, and the guests appreciated the tours and warm welcome by the hosts Jean-Marc and Sylvianne Drouin, as well as the St-Albert Cheese Cooperative.

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