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Prince Edward Island Potato Farms Recognize National Soil Conservation Week

(Charlottetown, PEI – April 20, 2016)  This week (April 17th to 23rd) is National Soil Conservation Week in Canada, and as potato farmers across Prince Edward Island are gearing up for spring planting, they are making soil conservation a priority on their farms.
 
According to the Prince Edward Island Soil and Crop Improvement Association, 2016 is the thirtieth year of concentrated efforts by farmers and government to protect our valuable soils through programs that fund the construction of soil conservation structures such as terraces, berms and grassed waterways.  Additionally, promotion of beneficial practices such as strip cropping, winter cover cropping, residue management, and retirement of sensitive land have all been essential to preventing the erosion of rich topsoil from farmers’ fields.
 
The Prince Edward Island Potato Board enthusiastically supports all initiatives aimed at promoting soil conservation, thereby preserving the productivity of Island fields and preventing the degradation of Island waterways.  A number of PEI potato farmers work with their local watershed associations on collaborative projects to prevent soil erosion and improve local watersheds, and many potato farmers have invested in soil conservation measures on their farms.
 
According to Greg Donald, General Manager of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board, “Potato farmers recognize that it is essential to conserve soil and build soil quality to ensure the economic and environmental sustainability of our industry.  In addition, the industry is funding research being conducted by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada into the further use of fall cover crops, spring nurse crops, and residue tillage to prevent soil erosion and promote soil health. ” 
 
A large number of Island farmers are expanding their efforts to enhance soil conservation and soil health.  Among them are Darren and Brenda Peters of Maple Plains, who were recognized earlier this year with a 2016 Soil Conservation Award from the PEI Soil and Crop Improvement Association for their efforts to conserve and improve the soils on their farm.  Additionally, the Hogg Family of Klondike Farms in Wilmot Valley was recognized with the PEI Federation of Agriculture’s 2016 Gilbert Clements Award for Sustainable Agriculture in no small part due to their efforts to prevent soil erosion and improve soil health in their fields. 
 
Potato farmers have many partners to thank that are integral to promoting soil conservation in Prince Edward Island, including the PEI Soil and Crop Improvement Association, the PEI Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, and local watershed groups working together with farmers for the betterment of the industry and the environment.