Meet the Farmboys
Bryan and Kyle Maynard are young farmers with a farm succession story—told through photography, video and social media - that is renewing enthusiasm for agriculture in Prince Edward Island.
The Maynards joined the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) program because, as Bryan explains, “ALUS encourages us to do more for the environment, and this is a tremendous asset for us—as farmers and as Islanders.”
The farmboys, as they are known, grew up on the family farm in Arlington. Bryan returned to farming shortly after finishing school, while Kyle embarked on a career with a local aerospace company. After ten years, the opportunity came up to purchase part of Arlington Farms from their grandfather, Allison Dennis. The brothers reunited to form Farmboys Inc in 2015.
The company name is a way of honoring their late father, who would have been proud of his boys for keeping the farm in the family. Bryan and Kyle’s own children are now the fifth generation on this land.
Farmboys Inc. is making waves in the province's agricultural scene. Through interviews and videos, Instagram photos and two websites, they are capturing what it takes to grow potato, pulse and cereal crops and improve their environmental footprint.
Environment stewardship has meant enrolling 80 acres in the ALUS PEI program and implementing ALUS projects to reduce soil erosion. Their efforts to keep the fine red topsoil out of streams and rivers means cleaner water downstream - an important ecosystem service that benefits PEI at large.
Farmboys Inc. has established permanent grassed waterways. This ALUS project effectively reduces soil erosion by maintaining a strip of grass down a cultivated field that directs drainage in low-lying areas to protect nearby streams. They have also marked out a no-till zone of around the perimeter of fields, especially those near streams or susceptible to erosion. This effort has expanded the provincially regulated 15-meter buffer zone in these areas.
Bryan and Kyle have also modified other agricultural practices—they use alternative tillage techniques and sow a winter cover crop on harvested fields to help hold precious topsoil on the fields.
Bryan and Kyle are as excited to carry on the family farming tradition as they are to be involved in the ALUS program, which underscores the need for public support for agriculture and the environment.
“There is no other province in Canada as environmentally regulated as Prince Edward Island, but we cannot regulate everything in the working landscape,” says Bryan. “The ALUS program allows farmers to take more responsibility, and voluntarily retire marginal or sensitive areas, which means we can focus more attention on growing crops on prime farmland.”
The Maynards are also passionate about increasing awareness of the ups and downs of the farming lifestyle, by capturing what it’s really like to be a farmer.
“I’m trying to bridge the gap between farmers and non-farmers,” adds Bryan.