Stuart Chutter knows the value of diversity both on and off the farm. As a gay man working in agriculture, he is aware of the stereotypes that are placed on farmers and rural communities. “Just like there is no one way to farm, there is no one way to be a farmer,” said Chutter.
He raises sheep and cattle on his farm near Killaly, Saskatchewan, but if you ask him what he farms, he would tell you it’s ‘soil’. He practices regenerative agriculture, which focuses on soil health, something that Chutter believes is vital to raising healthy animals and producing high quality protein.
His animals graze a mix of forage species including oats, turnips, millet, radishes, clovers and sunflowers. But regenerative agriculture isn’t about a specific set of rules says Chutter, “It’s a way of thinking that focuses on soil health as a complex system, and how plant and livestock species have an important role to play in that system.”
Chutter believes that diversity in agriculture will make it more resilient and better positioned to attract new people to the industry. “In my experience, rural people and farmers make world-class neighbours and allies.”
Photo courtesy of Jenna Loveridge Photography