Nick Green 

I want to slow down from my day job so I can hang out with cows.

Nick Green is a PEI beef farmer who changed his farming practices to make his farm a more sustainable business.


Nick Green


Beef Farmer

Tell us about your farm and what you produce here.

I restarted a multigenerational farm and I got back into beef cattle so I run a cow/calf and some grass-fed beef operation. We have about 40-45 cows right now. Keeping back about 5-10% and the rest are being sold off as feeder cattle.

What new and sustainable methods are you using on your farm?

I started doing what I did as a teenager and quickly realized that wasn’t going to work so in an effort to cut costs and be a sustainable commercial operation, I resorted to moving the cattle outside 365 days a year. I reduced my manure handling costs, my fertilizer inputs and my chemicals. All of those things combined are driving us towards a sustainable farm on a commercial scale.

What does a typical day look like for you?

On a typical day in the winter, we feed the cows every couple of days depending on the weather. Today for instance with a storm coming in, we are back here dropping 4-5 bales of hay and taking cows closer to the woods for shelter during the storm. During the summer, it’s a little busier because we do strip grazing and rotational grazing so we move the cows everywhere from 1-2 times a day and then we calve in June so that’s a busy time too. We have a relatively low-maintenance herd so they get checked in the morning and checked in the evening and we tag the calves and deal with issues as they come.

Why do you do what you do? Why did you get back into farming?

It’s in my blood. I grew up with it. From the time I could walk, I had a pitchfork in my hand. It’s one of those things when you grow up on a farm, it never really leaves you. I always said I was coming back to it, it just took me a little while to get things aligned to come back. In 2015, I bought my first 3 cows, one of which is still in the herd today. I filled up the barns at home and then made a change in 2019 to keep them outside and it’s been going in the right direction since then.

Do you have a team or is it just you?

It’s just me, my partner Amber helps out as well but she has a job off the farm. I’ve changed a lot of my management to allow me to do this while I still work off the farm but I plan to come back and retire from my day job and farm full time. This is a retirement gig for me which sounds crazy to the average person but I want to slow down from my day job so I can hang out with cows.

What direction do you hope the PEI agriculture industry is headed in?

I think we’re heading in a positive direction. At the end of the day, everyone eats and that’s not going to change. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you practice, what religion you are, or what clothes you wear, everybody eats. It’s unavoidable. We need agriculture. It’s not something we can stop. Because if we don't have food, everything stops. I think it’s very strong here on PEI. We have great resources: our land resources, we have good water resources. The climate is a little funky with hurricanes, we used to be able to brag and say we didn’t have hurricanes but that’s kind of on an upward trend now. In preparation for the hurricane this year, it was just managing where the cows were and checking fence lines and having generators ready to keep fences live after the hurricane. And that preparation paid off, we didn’t lose any cows and they were safe and hung out at the woodline and the way the wind was, no trees came down around them. They take shelter when they need it and find what’s best for them, which has been a learning curve for me as I grew up with cows in barns and after moving them outside I realized how little shelter they take. I figured they’d be in the woods and they’re out here grazing.

Would you encourage other people to explore the farming/agriculture industry?

I know lots of first time farmers and know people who are multigenerational farmers and they’re in a battle with their kin that dont want them to farm because of the hardships they’ve endured. Farming is hard, and it always has been. It’s not getting any easier. If you look at the price index of cost versus goods sold that gets closer and closer and almost flips. It’s not an easy game and you have to be cut out for it. I applaud people who are getting into farming who haven’t farmed a day in their life. They have a different perspective too. They don't come into it with bad habits and they have new outlooks which isn’t a bad thing. Anyone who is getting into the industry, I encourage them to go meet farmers, meet new farmers and old farmers. What helped with a lot of my management changes was doing research online. There is a ton of information online. There are tons of studies done on farms and there are youtube channels. There is nothing you can't find. That would be my encouraging point. And have as calm of a conversation as you can with your parents. Dad and mom did it their way and they were still holding on to the reigns and unfortunately I don't have those conversations anymore. We did have them daily when I restarted the farm. Everyone said I was crazy and it was not an encouraged thing. But you have to look past that. I said I was going to do it. And I'm doing it and I'm going to continue to do it until I get it right and I'm going to ignore the noise.

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