By Taylor McClure
Special to Brome County News
Émilie Tremblay, a meat producer in Brome Lake with a certificate in animal production, wants to strike a deal with landowners in the area to help preserve the region’s farmland, and at the same time expand her business Pâturages du Lac-Brome – Production animale régénératrice. She has already collaborated with two landowners in Brome Lake and most recently in Bolton-Ouest after Janic Gosselin and Jacques-André Dupont decided to lease part of their land for five years to her for her agricultural activities. In the first year of getting her business off the ground, Tremblay is just getting started with her project, but her partnership with Gosselin and Dupont has given her traction. Gaining experience in the entrepreneurial world, she wants to continue to find other landowners willing to contribute to preserving the agricultural vitality of the area.
The new partnership came about after a Facebook post by Gosselin and Dupont went viral. “They placed an ad saying ‘we a have a piece of land, 30 acres out of a total of 150 acres, and they just said we would like to help a young farmer get started or to develop their business. It got shared over a 1,000 times and the two received over 100 projects so they were completely overwhelmed. They thought maybe they would have two or three ideas but they got over 100 so that’s where they reached out to L’ARTERRE.”
“They are leasing it to me, but they are leasing it for free so that I can raise sheep on their property,” said Tremblay speaking on her new partnership.
Described as a ‘farmer matchmaker,’ L’ARTERRE is an organization that puts landowners or farmers who want to retire, sell or lease their land, in touch with other farmers looking for more land. “I was waiting for an opportunity with L’ARTERRE for over a year so when they reached out to them, the person in charge of the area (Élyse Cardinal) immediately considered my project for their place.”
Tremblay said that the efforts of Gosselin and Dupont couldn’t have come at a better time. “I was looking for more land because I also have 14 head of cattle, over 30 sheep, a lama, as well as ducks and chickens.”
Her collaboration with Gosselin and Dupont, and other landowners, shares the dual purpose of producing good quality meat and regenerating the land that isn’t being used right now to make sure that we keep our farmlands.. “It’s a good solution to something that might become a problem if people buy the land because it’s pretty not because it’s good land to farm, so that’s where I come in.”
She emphasized that the project is really a working relationship between her and the landowners. “I help them identify the goal, what they want to do with the land, and bring in animals. If it’s too small I might recommend something else. A lot of landowners have reached out to me to ask what I can do with their land. With most of my partnerships with landowners I don’t pay a lot of rent, and some not at all, because I help them regenerate their land. The animals also do that. They gain in that exchange.”
Dupont has been helping her with the business side of things. “He has a good vision, he is a businessman. He helps me to make sure I am aligned with my vision and that I take the right action to go where I want to go and it’s really a huge help. Meeting him, and him helping me with those things, gave my business a boost of like three years. With his help, things moved so much faster.”
Tremblay said it’s nearly impossible for a farmer to get their hands on a piece of land these days which is why she decided to go a different route. “Even if I were able to buy land, it’s not realistic. I wouldn’t be able to produce enough on that piece of land to justify buying it. In the area of Brome-Missisquoi, it would require an investment of millions of dollars and most people who have money to buy this land are not farmers. People are getting more conscious of it and I’m glad that a project like mine might help open their eyes to other farmers.”