Rocky Knoll Farm Ltd- 2017 Producer of the Year
Rocky Knoll Farm Limited is a multi-generation farm, owned and operated by the Withrow Family, in Center Rawdon, Hants County.
In the mid-to-late 60’s the farm switched from a vegetable, dairy and swine operation to a beef and vegetable farm, raising mostly purebred Herefords and Black Angus, as well as vegetables for their farm market business. As industry demands changed, so did the operation. A few exotic breeds were introduced to the herd, predominately Charolais and Simmental. Their crossbred calves were mostly born in the winter months and marketed through the Maritime Cattle Market in the fall. As the herd grew in size, there was a need to expand the barn capacity and introduce a second calving period. At that time an additional barn was built to house about 70 of the cows that would calve in the fall.
And then 2003 struck and the industry was faced with the BSE crisis. Rocky Knoll Farm Limited, along with the rest of the industry, struggled to determine their future but decided to pursue their next logical step. They had been running a farm market business as well as farming; they had a location, a customer base, and beef to sell so it made sense to expand that part of the business. In June of 2005, a meat shop was opened, enabling the Withrows to sell their beef directly to the consumer.
Soon after, they realized that they needed a constant supply of finished beef, and introduced a third calving period. Today they calve out approximately 1/3 of their herd in the spring, 1/3 in the fall and 1/3 in the winter. The largest percentage of the calves born on the farm are finished onsite and marketed through the meat shop, some are sold through Atlantic Stockyards, in Truro. To enable a more marketable product, they have re-introduced Black Angus into their breeding program, along with Limousin. Most of their herd sires are purchased through the Nappan Bull Sale and other local producers. To compliment the business activity at the meat shop, and meet another industry need, they also offer custom butchering to local farmers as well.
Through diversification and new initiatives Rocky Knoll Farm Limited has been able to continue farming. This has allowed their four operating partners to work full time for our business, provide local employment, as well as contribute to other agricultural initiatives.