Sunny Crest Farms - The McCoy Family
In 2004 Sunny Crest Farm and four generations of the McCoy family relocated from a seventh generation farm near Stittsville, Ontario on the ever-encroaching edge of Ottawa to the wide open spaces of the Cobden area in the Ottawa Valley. Shortly after arriving, they also made the decision to transition to organic milk production.
Second generation farmer, Ron McCoy manages Sunny Crest Farms with the help of his mother, his children and his grandchildren. Ron’s parents switched from grade to purebred Holstein cattle in 1942 and later built the herd to Master Breeder status. Since then, Sunny Crest Farms has had several cows classified with excellent breeding status – all tracing back to one of the matriarchs, “Sunny Crest Astro Jacklin”.
Ron has traveled the world as a Nuffield Scholar, looking at both grazing systems and co-operatives, and is passionate about both. Pasture is the primary focus of the feeding program; supplemented by corn silage, hay silage and dry hay as needed, along with approximately one ton of grain per cow per year. Ron’s eldest son Linton is especially passionate about the genetics of the herd. The cows are housed on a compost bedding pack built in 2007, while the young stock is group-housed.
On the crop side, Ron has been selecting and growing open-pollinated corn for the past twenty years and continues to try new varieties. The McCoys grow about 60 acres for silage and grain corn. When asked about the main focus of the farm, Ron replies “Genetics and the ability of plants and animals to be bred into a sustainable system of farming.”
The transition to organic was prompted by a variety of reasons, including health, environment, and way of life. The McCoys shipped their first load of organic milk in June 2008 and they are “very pleased with the move, especially becoming a member of the Organic Meadow Co-operative.”