Cody returned to his boyhood stomping grounds near Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan after earning an engineering degree at the University of Saskatchewan and then working in the field. During Cody’s time away, his parents transitioned to organic farming, so it became practical for Cody to use those same techniques on a quarter section he owned nearby, which his parents helped tend. Seeing the benefits of that approach, Cody and his wife Allison Squires chose to go organic when an opportunity arose to purchase a farm across the road from his parents in 2010. “It made a lot of economic sense for us, being smaller acreage,” Cody says. “And learning more and more about the whole system, I realize it’s a complete package, with environmental, economic and social benefits.”
Now farming 2,000 acres, the couple are raising three young sons as well as spelt, kamut, oats, lentils, forage peas, mustard, flax and chickpeas. They regularly use on-farm research to boost soil health, crop quality and productivity. For example, they are testing a green manure system that relies on roller crimping, grazing and intercropping rather than plowing as a way to retain soil health and integrity. Cody’s aptitude for machinery design and emphasis on lean manufacturing are proving definite assets in moving research into practice, as is Allison’s doctorate in toxicology. “Everything we learn opens up two more things to learn about,” Cody says.
What Makes Cody a Champion?
Already active on the Saskatchewan organic scene when POGI began, Cody served on POGI’s transition and optimization advisory committees. He was also invited to join POGI’s grain quality committee and was the young farmers initiative representative on the Organic Value Chain Round Table. He is also vice president of SaskOrganics, previously known as the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD), which he helped rebrand and refocus. As that mix of roles suggests, Cody’s voice as a savvy organic farmer is highly valued around any table.
“Beyond the materials and agronomic information POGI made available for producers, one of its largest lasting influences is creating a collaboration space for the three prairie provinces. As we get to learn who the innovators are and bounce ideas around, everybody’s moving forward. That is going to have lasting effects for many years. By pooling resources and talents, we can take this further as a collaborative effort than any one organization could do on its own.”