Yves Saint-Vincent’s father wanted him to follow in his own footsteps and become a firefighter. But instead, Yves chose to follow in his grandfather’s footprints and began a conventional dairy and beef operation, in 1958. However, after many years of conventional production, Yves woke one day and said, “Enough!” He sold his herd and spent two years traveling the world with his wife, Diane, visiting farms in many countries and, as Yves says, “learning from intelligent farmers, raising animals differently.”
Upon returning to Canada, Yves and Diane established Ferme Saint-Vincent, a 700-acre farm in Saint-Cuthbert, Quebec where they raise Certified Grassfed by AGW beef cattle, the only certification and logo in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100 percent grass and forage diet, raised outdoors on pasture or range for their entire lives, and managed according to the highest welfare and environmental standards on an independent family farm. As well as changing to more sustainable production methods, Yves decided to substitute the Shorthorn cattle he’d raised before for the Charolais, a breed known for its hardiness and ability to produce high quality, lean meat. “We run around 100 Charolais cows with calves. The Charolais is a unique breed that develops large muscle without too much fat,” says Yves. “It’s perfectly suited to our cold and wet winters, as well as our hot summers.”
Yves, along with his wife and two of their four children, Paul and Marie-Phillippe, run the family farm with the intention to always learn more and be better farmers. “We manage our farm like an ecosystem,” Yves explains. “We work in harmony with nature and not at its expense.” He believes that raising cattle in this way produces meat that is more not only more delicious, but also healthier.
Yves spends hours reading each day and believes that the farm benefits from the diverse and changing expertise of Mexican immigrants who work on the farm, as well as the apprentices who come from around the world and stay for two to six months, learning about the high-welfare animal husbandry practices at Ferme Saint-Vincent. In order to remain connected to the global food movement, every year the farm sends someone to Biofach, an international trade fair for organic foods, and biennially to Slow Food International’s Salone del Gusto event.
Yves chose to become Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World after reading the program’s Newsletter. Yves believes that having Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW and Certified Grassfed by AGW certifications confirms to customers – and himself – that Ferme Saint-Vincent is on the right track, raising animals according to the most stringent animal welfare and environmental standards.
Ferme Saint-Vincent pasture-raised Certified Grassfed by AGW beef is available directly from the farm or from various retail locations in Montreal. Visit www.saint-vincentbio.com for more information.