Léonard Côté and his two sons Steeve and Sébastien are co-owners. Léonard bought his own farm in 1969 at the age of 22, after spending nine years in logging camps, saving every penny. He milks about 20 cows.
Steeve and Sébastien were keen to work with high-performance, proven and durable technology. Mathieu, one of Léonard and Lise’s grandsons, recently joined the team.
For the Côtés, growth is a goal and a way of life. The family expanded the barn in 2017, installed a milking carousel and a ventilation system, purchased quota and built a pit. This also gave them the chance to repatriate the whole herd on a single site. Around 600 animals inhabit the new space. Through monthly quota purchases, however small, the shareholders aim to produce 600 kg, which is the capacity of the building.
In an effort to improve yields, the owners practice minimum tillage, which allows for surface burial of residue only and conserves soil compared to conventional tillage.
Léonard Côté is also involved in protecting watercourses: he planted a riparian buffer of trees along the banks of waterways over a length of 7,014 metres. Some of these trees can be seen along Highway 169 between Alma and Hébertville. Riparian buffers ensure a reasonable distance between the crop and the watercourse during tilling. Adding vegetation next to the watercourse also helps improve water quality. Among other things, it minimizes soil loss through runoff and detachment, and it filters out pesticides and fertilizers. It provides a quality habitat for wildlife and plants, as well as attracting pollinators and lowering water temperatures. Finally, its windbreak effect allows farmers to increase agricultural yields.
To further protect the waterways, the Léonard and Lise Côté farm has made improvements to reduce erosion, such as rock chutes and drainage. Considering the size of his business, Léonard wanted to set a good example.