vbp+ Producer Profile
AKC Farming & Repairs was founded in the late 1900's originally on Crown land. While operated today by Allan and Colleen Cathcart, they had purchased the farm from Allan's father Bruce, who still helps out and lives on a retirement lot next door. The homeplace is just over 96 acres and the farm rents about 200 acres for pasture in the summer and 400 acres for hay, forage and soybean seedings. They target the equestrian market on premium hays sales.
The Cathcarts run about 50 commercial white Charolais cows bred to registered Charolais bulls. They split calve the herd with about 70% calving January through February and kept through to November. The other 30% of the cows calve in the fall. They direct sell steers off the farm as well as through auction markets and presently don't finish their animals. Their future goals with the herd include moving to larger birthweights, spending more time summer grazing the pastureland and Allan plans to work with "Seed Stock" buying and retaining their own heifers and breeding them to their new registered Charolais bull Calypso.
The farm is located in the Ganaraska Watershed near Kendal, northwest of Port Hope on Lake Ontario and in the Oak Ridges Moraine zone. The Ganaraska Forest is nearby and the AKC Farm is blessed with several springs and fresh water flow across the property. It's rolling drumlin grassy hill country on Brighton Sandy Loam soils with panoramic views to the north and south sides of the property and is habitat for a wide range of wildlife species. They maintain many scenic walking trails throughout the farm.
The operation became Verified Beef Production (VBP) registered in September 2015 because - "the beef industry is where we are passionate about what we do," say the Cathcarts. "We want to build consumer confidence and validate our responsible practices."
The Cathcarts participated in the McDonald's Verified Sustainable Beef Pilot beginning in the fall of 2015. They passed the audit fine. Colleen took the Environmental Farm Plan through the Growing Forward 2 Ontario program that same year.
The Cathcarts are active members of the Beef Farmers of Durham, to which Allan is a voting delegate leading up to the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) AGM. The operation was named a BFO MVP Family in 2015. They're also registered and active on the Beef InfoXchange System.
In 2016 Allan and Colleen took the Traceability course and as soon as the Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) program was announced that summer they set their sights on getting fully certified.
It's a natural evolution for this Ontario beef cattle operation - "We want to be involved in the VBP+ program to help promote the Ontario & Canadian beef brand. We recognize the importance of our operation's involvement in VBP+ now and in the future to being recognized as a credible, sustainable and trusted source of beef from an Ontario family farm."