Tony Vogel of Carry-on Farms in South Glengarry is one of six Eastern Ontario farmers featured in the Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA)’s two-part Agri-Action Farm Tour video series. In part two of the series, Vogel is pictured in front of the constructed wetland on his property. Courtesy Photo

By Sandy Casselman 
AgriNews Staff Writer

CHESTERVILLE – “Today we’re going to be taking you on a tour of three local farms to meet the landowners, learn about their farming operations and the best management practices that they’ve implemented to improve not only their farms but also the watershed,” Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) Stewardship Specialist Brendan Jacobs said at the beginning of the RRCA Agri-Action Farm Tour – Part One. “Please hop on board with us and enjoy the ride.”

Six Eastern Ontario farmers were recently showcased in two RRCA Agri-Action Farm Tour videos, where they guided viewers through some of the best management practice (BMP) projects they’ve implemented on their lands, including cover crops, buffers, windbreaks, and constructed wetlands. Each video is roughly 40 minutes in length and can be found on the RRCA website or YouTube.

“Seeing is believing. We had our own doubts when we started this, but these go away pretty quick once you see what happens when you start to work with nature,” North Glengarry farmer Mike MacGillivray of Kirkview Farms said, noting that his family has been farming their land since the early 1800s. He also said he’d begun transitioning to regenerative organic agriculture a few years ago. Outlining his pasture management strategies, MacGillivray dug into the soil to show how he’s been able to regenerate land and support livestock through rotational grazing.

In addition to MacGillivray, Jacobs visited Lawrence St. Denis of Denlorn Farms in South Glengarry, and Marc Bercier of Ferme Agriber in The Nation, in part one of the Agri-Action Farm Tour videos. In part two of the tour, Jacobs visits three more farmers, including Kurt MacSweyn of Dalagra Farms in North Glengarry, Tony Vogel of Carry-on Farms in South Glengarry, and Jackie Pemberton of Pemdale Farms in North Dundas.

“By doing what we’re doing – potentially that’s going to be the norm – we’ll be ahead of the game. My kids won’t have to worry about doing it or having the extra expenses of doing it because we’re able to partner with the ALUS program and get some of these jobs done,” MacSweyn said. “I appreciate the opportunity. It makes things easier when the cost isn’t completely on the farmer’s shoulders to be trying to do some of the stuff, so it’s a great opportunity for people.”

It was noted by several of the participating farmers that they’re learning as they go, and that changes are a work in progress. They shared their farming practices and how these have evolved over time, as they work to improve their farms as well as the land they inhabit. Pemberton, for example, noted that she and her husband have had an environmental plan for their farm for years, where they regularly look at the practices on their farm to see where they can improve.

“It’s always good to try to be involved and do some good for the environment and agriculture in general,” Vogel, who has a constructed wetland on his property, said. “We’re always learning new stuff.”

The tours were held in conjunction with RRCA’s Agri-Action Workshops, which were held virtually this past summer with a variety of experts sharing their knowledge. The RRCA also offered an Agri-Action Advisory Service, where funding was used to pair farmers in the conservation authority’s watershed with local BMP experts.

“Best management practices can enhance farmland sustainability by improving soil health, reducing erosion, and retaining valuable nutrients,” Jacobs said. “This not only provides on-farm benefits such as increased average yields, but also improves the health of the local watershed.”

RRCA’s Agri-Action Advisory Farm Tours are supported by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative, and by ALUS Canada, a community developed, farmer-led program that works with farmers to produce valuable ecological services on Canadian farmland. To learn more about ALUS Canada and its many initiatives, visit its website (

For more information on the RRCA and the Agri-Action Farm Tour, including access to the two videos, visit the conservation’s website (, send an email (, or phone 613-938-3611. The Agri-Action Workshops, BMP resources, and funding opportunities, such as subsidized tree planting and ALUS partnership opportunities are also available on the website (