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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Local farmers display plowing talent during annual competition

by Sylene Argent

On Saturday, local and out-of-town farmers took to the competition field, located along County Road 34 in Cottam at the McLeod Farm, to display their talent during the annual Essex County Plowing Match.

  The event offered local plowmen, or out-of-town farmers, a chance to accumulate enough points to compete at the upcoming International Plowing Match and Rural Expo, which will be held in Pain Court between September 18-22.

  Cecilia Diebold of the Waterloo Region was on of those individuals hoping to get enough points to make it to the International Plowing Match. This is her second season plowing with a team of two horses, and she enjoys learning about the trade.

  Diebold got interested in plowing with horses after being crowed the Ontario Queen of the Furrow in 2014. “I enjoy working with the horses and the challenge of working with the horses,” she said. She also enjoys the friendly atmosphere at the plowing shows.

  Pain Court Famer Brian Sterling was one of the competitors aboard a tractor on Saturday. He has been competing for around 17 years.

  Plowing can be a test of experience, Sterling said, noting, every field is different, which challenges a farmer to make the correct adjustments in their operations to do the best job possible.

  Competing in the annual matchup is a family affair for Sterling as it is an activity he and two of his brothers enjoy getting involved with together.

  Sterling now enjoys coaching, too, which includes Essex County’s most recent Queen of the Furrow, Grace Mullen.

  Mullen is looking forward to competing in the International Competition in September. She said she has been involved with farming her whole life. She went to high school in Pain Court, so she is excited to compete in the area she knows well.

  She was crowned Essex County’s Queen of the Furrow last year after a panel of judges assessed a speech she prepared, her ability to plow, and the answers she provided during a question period.

  Mullen enjoys representing the Essex County Plowmen’s Association and being an advocate for agriculture.  

  Every year, the Bank of Montreal sponsors the local matches, which take place in many communities from Essex County to Temiskaming. Locally, BMO provided a cheque to the Essex County Plowmen Association for $850 to help cover the costs of hosting the event. Jim Inglis, BMO’s Windsor-Essex Regional Vice President of Personal Banking, enjoys meeting with customers at the matchup and farmers who bank elsewhere to connect with individuals who live in rural areas.

  Anna Quick, BMO’s Relationship Manager, added the bank provides the donation annually to support the community involvement. “It is a happy family here,” she said.

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