Craig Rickard is a sixth-generation grain farmer in Bownmanville, Ontario. He was born into a farming family but didn’t end up returning to the farm until his mid forties. He always knew that he wanted to be back on the farm eventually, and it was more of a question of when the stars were going to align to allow him to return home.
Craig’s farm grows soybeans, grain corn, winter wheat, and edible beans (white beans). All of the crops he grows, other than corn, are produced for seeds that get used the next season by Ontario grain farmers. Sometimes his grain crops don’t end up being used for seed production, and instead end up in the general commodity market to make things like cookie dough, pastries, and ingredients used for baking.
Craig utilizes sustainable farming practises, like crop rotation, that helps him keep the fields healthy and clean. He rotates what crop is planted into the fields each year; this helps protect the local environment and can help Craig produce more seeds due to the nutrient sharing between each crop. Some grain crops leave behind nutrients in the soil when the plant parts decompose after harvest, which are then beneficial to help grow the next crop in his rotation. This is also a big factor for why farmers grow cover crops, which is another sustainable farming practise.