Local Heroes: Bruce and Deborah Whale, Clovermead Farms
In this edition of The Ostic Group’s Local Heroes, we’re excited to feature Bruce and Deborah Whale of Clovermead Farms in Alma, Ontario.
You won’t find Clovermead Farms on Facebook because they don’t have a page. You can Google them, but they don’t have a website. And they very much like it that way.
Despite not having any online presence, the work the Whales are doing at Clovermead Farms is the kind of work that makes Wellington County such a wonderful place to live.
About the farm
Clovermead Farms is home to 150-160 Holstein cows. The cattle get milked two to three times a day by robotic milkers which the Whales have been using for a decade now.
In addition to the cattle, there are 475 acres of corn, alfalfa, and mixed grain cash crops that all contribute to this special farm.
“Our son, Korb, is the seventh generation,” said Bruce, whose family originally came over from England, settled on the rich Alma soil, and have been farming ever since.
Korb is now president of Clovermead Farms Inc. and Clovermead Energy Inc, which takes the manure produced by cows and turns it into heat and electricity before it’s used to fertilize the crops that the cows eat.
“We like to think of it as an almost completely sustainable system where we don’t rely on outside fertilizer,” noted Bruce.
In 2016, Clovermead Farms was the recipient of a national agricultural award for its sustainability efforts that included tree planting, stream restoration, and energy conservation.
Why Clovermead Farms is our hero
The Whale family has an undying passion for what Deborah calls a “civic duty to this country”. Something that we all ought to have.
“Organizations only function because of the people who give back, who sit on the committees…it’s our responsibility to do so and even though we’re in agriculture and we’re busy, we do it,” said Bruce.
In 2014, Deborah gave a well-received talk at TEDxStouffville that was titled, “Building a future for agriculture in Canada”.
Two years later, in 2016, Deborah was inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Associaton for her work in agriculture. The OAHFA called Deborah a, “trailblazer and a passionate advocate for the Ontario agricultural sector.”
A particular point of pride for Deborah was her work across the province to get French Immersion programs into Ontario schools.
I felt strongly that our kids should have the opportunity to learn both French and English in an officially bilingual country.” she said.
This led to Deborah becoming a founding member of the Canadian Parents for French, North Wellington Brand. Deborah’s efforts paid off when they got a French immersion program in Wellington County. Now both their sons are fluent French speakers and their grandchildren are in French Immersion programs in Wellington County.
Deborah had a good example to emulate. Her father, George Jones, not to be confused with the country singer, was a WWII veteran and professor at the Ontario Agricultural College. He was given the endearing title of Corn King of Canada and is widely known in agricultural circles as, “the man who changed the way Ontario farms.”
Jones was inducted into the OAHFA in 2006.
Not to be outdone, Bruce served as a two-term councillor in Mapleton and the mayor of Mapleton. He sat on the boards of the Ontario Forage Council, the Drayton District Coop, the Peel/Maryborough Mutual Insurance Board, the Ontario Veterinary College Dean’s Advisory Board, and about two handfuls of other boards and committees.
All Bruce’s civic worked earned him a volunteer recognition award with the University of Guelph.
Who are Clovermead’s local heroes?
“My father,” said Deborah. “Anything he set his mind to, he did.”
Bruce couldn’t bring himself to name just one person. He felt far more comfortable directing his appreciation to the everyman who worked tirelessly to “make this country tick”.
Why did you choose to work with The Ostic Group?
Bruce was and remains good friends with Tom Waind, Partner and Vice President of The Ostic Group.
“Besides being canoeing and fishing friends, I saw how Ostic dealt with their customers, particularly those in the agricultural industry,” and it seemed like an obvious fit for the Whale family and Clovermead Farms.
We at The Ostic Group applaud Bruce and Deborah Whale and Clovermead Farms for making our community, province and country what it is today!