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The Prescott and Russell Counties are located east of Ottawa, with a shoreline on the Ottawa River. The region has a population of nearly 90,000 residents and is a strong bilingual community. The counties, once independent, were merged into one in 1820 and named the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. The region is also bilingual, as it borders Quebec across the Ottawa River.
The region continues to have a strong agricultural economy, with markets shifting to purchasing organic and local, there are many opportunities for new and existing farmers to succeed in this region or increase the value of a current farm operation by tapping into new markets and producing specialty products. With proximity to Ottawa and Montreal, there are many ways to connect directly to the consumer. Together with the two neighbouring counties, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell make up over 40% of the agricultural business in Eastern Ontario.
For a rural community feel, with many amenities and direct-to-consumer options within close proximity, the Prescott and Russell region is a must-see as an option for your agricultural venture! Additionally, there are many resources and supports from the region to continue fostering a strong agricultural and agri-food economy and industry that continues to answer the steady and changing market demands.
In addition to the farmers’ markets in the Prescott and Russell region, there are multiple markets accessible within a 1-hour radius including Ottawa, Gatineau, and their various suburbs. Additionally, the region has worked with the Eastern Ontario Food Portal to create an online farmers’ market direct to consumers looking to shop locally, conveniently. This has been a great marketing tool for local agricultural producers to participate in, increasing their business’ visibility throughout the area, which can be a challenge. Check out the farmers’ markets in the region for some examples of year-round and seasonal farmers’ markets below:
- Vankleek Hill Farmers’ Market, Vankleek Hill
- Prescott Farmers’ & Crafters’ Market, Prescott
- Kemptville Farmers Market, Kemptville
- The Russell Community Market, Russell
There are many resources for your big or small animals and concerns within the Prescott and Russell region! You and your farm will be well taken care of with years of expertise in your area with a variety of animal hospitals and veterinary clinics nearby. See below for a list of the larger veterinary clinics and hospitals in the area:
- Prescott Animal Hospital, Prescott
- Casselman Veterinary Clinic, Casselman
- Hawkesbury Animal Hospital, Hawkesbury
- Russell Veterinary Services, Russell
There are many local, small businesses that service the Prescott and Russel region’s demand for agricultural supplies. With proximity to Ottawa and the local support in the area, you’ll be able to maintain and set your farm up for success! Whether you’re looking for feed suppliers, tools, heavy-duty farm equipment, or service, you’ll find it here. See below for a few great shops to get you started:
- Seguin Dairy Farm Equipment, St-Eugene
- Higginson Farm Equipment, Hawkesbury
- Howe’s Farm Equipment, Vankleek Hill
- D M D Picard Enterprises Inc., Fournier
There are some auction services throughout the Prescott and Russell region, with more options and additional services for agricultural specific auctions in the surrounding area including Ottawa. Nonetheless, you’ll find a great deal close to home! See the list below to check out a few of the auctions in the region:
- Cruise Auction Services, L’Original
- Rideau Auctions Inc., Winchester
- Peter Ross Auction Services Ltd., Lunenberg
- Located east of Ottawa, Clarence-Rockland has a population of nearly 25,000. The city balances rural charm and larger city amenities for the region along the Ottawa river.
o On-demand transportation throughout the Prescott and Russell area
- Clarence-Rockland to Ottawa – 40 km
- Clarence-Rockland to Montreal – 152 km
- Clarence-Rockland to Toronto – 488 km
The Prescott and Russell region is the oldest farming area in Canada and currently produces 13% of Ontario’s agricultural products. While agriculture isn’t the largest employer today, the region continues to contribute greatly to the province’s overall farming sector with 760 farm operations and 1,217 hired farm labour. The number of farms has increased by 11% since 2008 with 685 farms operating at that time. In 1991, the agriculture production in the region was valued at $142 million. There hasn’t been a shortage of raw materials and diverse growth opportunities for cash crops and biofuel. Dairy farming makes up nearly 50% of the agriculture in the region, with beef and cattle farming the second-largest category with 20% of the region’s total production. Poultry production within the region reached a value of $14.9 million, higher than both neighbouring counties. Additionally, there are many processing and packaging opportunities within the area.
The Prescott Federation of Agriculture represents the concerns, interests, and opinions of local farm families throughout Prescott, in conjunction with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. Similarly, the Russell Agricultural Society supports the needs of the agricultural community in the Russell area. Additionally, the organization hosts the Russell Fair annually, with an opportunity to celebrate and showcase all things agricultural in Russell.
The United Counties of Prescott and Russel, as well as the Prescott-Russell Employment Services Centre and Groupe Convex Prescott-Russell, have developed training sessions through the Farm Assistance Training program to provide workers the skills needed to succeed in the agricultural workforce in the region. These training sessions, which are free of charge, aim to fill the needs of agricultural businesses and foster continued growth for the agricultural industry, with specialized training in traditional farm work, agri-food production, or greenhouse farming.
There are many conservation authorities and nature preserves throughout the Prescott and Russell area. Located along the Ottawa River, preserving this vital water source as well as the neighbouring habitat for wildlife is a priority for the region. The Raisin-South Nation Source Protection Region aims to conserve the 13 groundwater systems and 13 surface water systems that supply water to 26 municipal drinking water systems. Similarly, the South Nation Conservation leads hundreds of stewardship projects that manage natural resources, human activities, and natural occurrences as they pertain to water quality and health, and its natural ecosystem. Additional conservation areas include W. E. Burton Conservation Area, J. Henry Tweed Conservation Area, and Jessup’s Falls Conservation Area.
The soil composition in the Prescott and Russell region is made up of clay, till, fine sands, silt, loam, and gravel outwash. The soil here is classified as moderately well-draining to well-draining. Throughout the various soil types in the area, some locations are ideal for hay and spring crops but lack the soil moisture for vegetable and rooted crops to thrive. Nonetheless, dairy and livestock production are reliable for these soil types. With agriculture the primary industry throughout the region, there is a low risk of soil contamination from other sectors. Additionally, it is vital to manage and maintain soil health for future use, this varies based on soil type and location.
The weather in the Prescott and Russell region is comfortable, with winter temperatures averaging around -16°C, rarely getting colder than -27°C. Summer temperatures average around 26°C, rarely surpassing 30°C. The average rainfall for the area ranges between 13 mm to 81 mm month over month, with an average snowfall of 349 mm in December. The longest days have roughly 15 hours 42 minutes of sunshine, with the shortest days welcoming 8 hours and 42 minutes of daylight in the winter.
There are an estimated 4.8 months of the growing season from May 10 to October 3 annually.
There are many water sources throughout the Prescott and Russell area, with accessibility to the Ottawa River and the St. Lawrence River. Many of the municipalities manage, test, distribute, and store water for residents, with some residents requiring private wells for water. For more rural areas, residents require a private well that is tested regularly.
The air quality within the Prescott Russell region is rated as good.
Most of the diverse wildlife located in the region is found in the Larose Forest. With a large variety of insects, birds, reptiles, mammals, and fish. The most common include beavers, turtles, birds of prey, and deer, with a large moose population within the forest and surrounding areas. Additionally, many pollinators are found within the region, namely butterflies, moths, and dragonflies.
On our community pages, you'll find a wide variety of local information and resources.