Q&A with Rene Miedema of Bomi Farms Ltd.
What can you tell us about your farm?
We have been farming at this location in Enderby since 1976 and we have a total of 240 acres. The dairy operation is our largest part of the farm and we currently milk 110 cows. Over the last few years, we have diversified our farm and added cut flowers and vegetables under the company name Little Flora Gem.
What efforts have you made to care for the environment around your farm?
Having three young kids has driven us to try our best to make the world a better place. One of the biggest things we have done is to make the long-term investment to convert our farm to renewable energy. Currently we power 96% of the farm, including the farmhouse, using solar power! Soon we will have an electric Tesla truck that we will use for delivery (flowers and vegetables) and other farm uses.
Out in the fields we are always looking at ways to better utilize our manure and to cut down on chemical fertilizers through approaches like ‘green manures’ (e.g. Fall Rye that adds nutrients into the soil).
We have also decided to proactively reduce the amount of herbicides and pesticides on our farm. In the vegetable and flower gardens we use cover crops, crop rotation and landscape fabric as ways to reduce the amounts of weeds we must deal with.
How do you use technology on your farm?
Technology plays a big role on our farm and we strive to be as efficient as possible, while maintaining a very high standard of care. In the dairy barn we have two milking robots, as well as a robotic feed pusher and a barn cleaner which help to maximize the health and comfort of our cows. Through the Dairy Farmers of Canada proAction program, we have many Standard Operating Procedures that help ensure things like cleanliness of equipment and quality of milk. Those records and data are recorded on computers using special software programs.
What is your dream for the future of your operation?
It is very important that we create a great working environment, not only for ourselves and our family, but also for our employees. We try to provide them with fair wages, and opportunities to learn and advance. Two of our current employees have been with us for six and nine years, respectively, and others in the past were with us for more than 20 years.
Ultimately, we want to have a diversified, sustainable farming operation that will be viable for our children to take over one day. We enjoy working with our family, and seeing our kids develop a love and understanding of farming and working with the animals. They already love the farm lifestyle, and we want them to have the option to make a living while caring for animals and the land, just like we do.