PARIS – A century of farming was celebrated at the 100th anniversary of the Brant/Six Nations Plowman’s Association plowing match held under beautiful skies on Saturday at the Telfor Farm on Watts Pond Road, just north of Paris.
The 2016 to 2017 Ontario Queen of the Furrow, Anita Rastapkevicius, was on hand greeting guests and competitors along with Victoria Kyle, the 2016 to 2017 Brant/Six Nations Queen of the Furrow.
“I got involved with my local [Elgin County] Plowmen’s Association four years ago at our local match,” says Anita. “Last year as a wrap-up to the season, I got to compete at the International Plowing Match.”
There are a number of elements considered when choosing an International Queen of the Furrow. She is chosen from local winners and after the field is cut down to five competitors. A final questions and answer phase and judgment based on demeanour and ability to give a concise and interesting speech boils it all down to one Queen, this year being Anita Rastapkevicius.
“It’s a great way to travel throughout the province,” she says. “It is such an honour.”
In an age when family farming is on the decline due to huge corporate farming and many young people leaving the farm, it was encouraging to see so many young people at the match, both watching and competing.
Each year, 25 and 50 competitors participate in old time plowing skills using traditional horse drawn plows as well as with tractors, many of them vintage. The venue alternates between a farm in Brant and one at Six Nations.
The tradition goes very deep at Six Nations. The Six Nations Plowmen’s Association began in 1863 and remains in conjunction with the Canada’s oldest continuously run Fall Fair, at the Six Nations Fair grounds. The Brant Plowmen’s Association goes back to 1917 with much co-operation between the two chapters, which still exists today.