Quebec 'soil champion' recognized for soil conservation leadership
Indian Head, Sask., April 7, 2009:
A Quebec producer has been honoured for his leadership in driving sustainable soil conservation practices in Canada. Jocelyn Michon of La Présentation, Quebec is the newest inductee into the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame, an award which recognizes deserving Canadians for their outstanding contribution to soil conservation.
"Jocelyn was one of the first growers in the province of Quebec to widely adopt no-till practices on his farm," says Eugene Legge, outgoing president of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC). "His success with no-till farming inspired many other growers in his area and across the province to adopt no-till practices on their own farms and at the same time become better stewards of their soils."
Michon has also played an active role in promoting no-till practices across Quebec. "Jocelyn has participated in countless events and courses where he has given valuable information on how to make no-till work for each participant. He and his wife Nicole have also hosted numerous groups of visitors from various backgrounds to show soil conservation in action. This has taken courage, especially in the early years when no-till farming was almost non-existent in the province and there was a high degree of scepticism among some growers and market influencers."
There's no question that significant progress has been made in on the soil conservation front over the past several years, says Legge. "At the same time, there is still much room for improvement. That's why it's so important to celebrate 'soil champions' such as Jocelyn Michon who represent the goals and success of the soil conservation movement."
Michon began his experimentation with reduced tillage in 1977, gradually phasing out all elements of conventional tillage from his predominately corn-soybean-spring wheat operation. His nearly three-decade journey toward eliminating soil disturbance on his farm reached its peak when, in 2003, he put his entire 500 acres under no-till. He has only used light surface application of manure following wheat harvest since starting no-till in 1994.
"In the last seven years, Jocelyn provided great leadership to the 'Club Action Semis Direct,'" says Legge. "This led to a significant increase in membership and also to the development of the 'Terre Vivante' certification, a unique initiative which creates value for wheat grown by members of the club. He was inducted into the Quebec Soil Conservation Hall of Fame in the mid-1990s and in 2005 received the Agro-Environmental Award given by l'Ordre du mérite agricole du Quebec."
Established in 1990 by SCCC, the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame recognizes the contributions of Canadians to the conservation ethic in Canada. "Nominees for induction need not be farmers or those directly employed in agriculture or soil conservation related activities," says Legge. "They can also be foresters, scientists, extension workers, educators, writers or anyone who has made a significant contribution through their dedication to promoting conservation. Their accomplishments and contributions may be on a national, provincial, regional or local level."
SCCC is the face and voice of soil conservation in Canada. Over the course of National Soil Conservation Week, held this year April 19-25, several "soil champions" will be highlighted on the SCCC Web site at www.soilcc.ca. "It's our way of saluting the efforts of just a few of the many producers who have adopted more sustainable soil management practices," says Legge. "Several of these producers took a chance on these practices at a time when they were not as accepted as they are today."
For more information, contact:
Glen Shaw, Executive Director
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Ph: (306) 972-7293
Jean-Louis Daigle, Executive Director/Directeur général
Eastern Canada Soil and Water Conservation Centre/
Centre de conservation des sols et de l'eau de l'Est du Canada
Saint-André (Grand Falls), NB
Ph: (506) 475-4040