TESA 25: Innovation drives stewardship at Ontario’s Pemdale Farms

Jackie and Steven Pemberton.

The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Since 1996, TESA has been recognizing beef producers from across the country who go above and beyond standard conservation practices to care for their land and environment.

Each year, producers are recognized at the regional level. A national TESA winner is then chosen from the regional recipients. This year the national winner will be announced during the Canadian Beef Industry Conference, slated for August 31 to September 2.

Watch for a feature about TESA's 25th anniversary in the August issue of Canadian Cattlemen. In the meantime, we'll be featuring the regional winners on the website. This story was originally published by the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and is republished with permission.

Jackie and Steven Pemberton of Pemdale Farms, located in Inkerman, Ontario are this year’s Ontario recipient of The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA). Located in Dundas County, the Pembertons have developed their farming strategies successfully by incorporating research and innovation to further the sustainability of their operation, as well as actively engaging with the community around them.

Making decisions based on science has always been integral in the environmental management of the Pembertons' farm. While incorporating simple, routine practices such as cover crops, fencing waterways and participation in an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP), Pemdale Farms has also taken an active role in many research projects to further sustainability and innovation within the industry. Some key examples of this research include projects with Carleton University based out of Ottawa, focusing on agriculture adaptation to climate change; an international research project analyzing the genetics of various crops and their effects on biodiversity; and a manure storage design research project conducted with the Canadian government, agriculture and university groups, to name a few.

A constructed wetland on Pemdale Farms. Photo: Jackie Pemberton

As leaders in their agricultural community, the Pembertons are heavily involved with agricultural and stewardship programs and education, promoting information on clean-water strategies and nutrient management. In addition, they continue to be active in their local associations and committees, including their county Federation of Agriculture and Cattlemen’s Association. Jackie is also involved on a provincial level, acting as a current member of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) Board of Directors and holds the position of OFA’s liaison with the Beef Farmers of Ontario.

The Beef Farmers of Ontario are hosting a webinar with the Pembertons on June 22 at 7:00 pm ET. Tune in to learn how they've incorporated research into their farming practices to sustain the environment.

Calves check out the camera at Pemdale Farms. Photo: Jackie Pemberton

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