On this week’s episode of Food Careers, I had the opportunity to visit with David Francis, a 7th generation seed potato and beef farmer.
David and his son Brett are business partners who run a Charolais influence beef cattle calf operation, modern feedlot, a 450 acre chip stock and seed potatoes business. They also produce grain and hay on their farm which is located just off the bridge in Prince Edward Island (PEI) in a town called Lady Fane.
David explains the ins and outs of producing seed potatoes for some of the largest names in the potato chip business. This family farm prides itself on environmental sustainability, they have installed thousands of feet of soil conservation features. Also, they do their very best in improving soil health, by using various practices such as crop rotation and rotational grazing. For example, a potato crop can only be taken from a certain plot of land every 3 years. The other years, crops are produced and beef cattle graze to inject soil with fertilizer naturally, thus enriching the soil for the next growing season.
LISTEN TO MORE FOOD CAREERS PODCAST: Food Careers Episode 7: Why Food Careers
David shared that when harvesting potatoes, incorporating cattle manure with high residue tillage practices improves soil organic matter. The potato business is highly automated however some parts are labour intensive. Therefore, having complimentary business’ with opposite “busy” seasons allows for staff to be employed year round. The beef and potato business really is complimentary both on and off the plate.
Note – Since Food is top of mind these days….
You may be most interested in how David stores and preserve potatoes over the winter months. This is indeed a timely discussion point seen as both Beef and Potatoes are products that Canada produces with volume and expertise. Tune in for more with this insightful business leader on Episode 8 of Food Careers.