Ferm Givskud Farm Inc. has a long history of growing potatoes in New Brunswick. The third generation family farm near Grand Falls, N.B. has been in operation more than 85 years.
“It was started by my grandfather, who came here in 1928 from Denmark. At that time it was mixed farm, potatoes and animals,” says current owner Mike Givskud. “In 1964, my father took over. He did mixed farming for one year, and then he went to only potatoes. In 1968, he went to 100 per cent seed potatoes.”
Givskud took over the reins in 2005 and today he farms about 1,000 acres of processing and seed potatoes and another 1,000 acres of mixed grains. The farm’s processing potatoes are grown for McCain Foods, and its seed potatoes are grown for chipping processor Frito-Lay. Givskud says he also buys and sells potatoes from other growers in the area to support customer demand.
Givskud’s wife Michelle manages the books for the farm, and the couple has two sons, Andrew and Riley, and a daughter, Megan, who range in age from 21 to 14. Andrew is already working full-time on the farm after finishing college, and Givskud says all three kids want to carry on the family tradition and run the operation one day.
He hopes his children can follow in the footsteps of his father, Mogens “Moose” Givskud, who in 2012 was rewarded for his distinguished contribution to the New Brunswick potato industry with an induction into the Hall of Recognition at the Potato World Museum in Florenceville-Bristol, N.B.
“He was a real good manager,” Givskud says. “He was always friendly with his clients and he developed a relationship with every customer. I try to be that way, too.”
According to Givskud, production practices may have changed over time, but a commitment to high-quality seed production and satisfied customers has always been integral to the farm’s success.
“Cutting corners is just not our way,” he explains. “Experience has taught us that hard work and adding the right inputs into the crop will not only ensure the best yields but also give our customers the quality they expect and deserve. We’re always trying to go a step further.”
In addition to strict adherence to Canadian Seed Regulations, Ferm Givskud Farm Inc. also follows a comprehensive quality assurance and food safety strategy that ensures that superior management practices are followed in the areas of cleaning, sanitation, pest control, storage and handling of pesticides. The farm also utilizes a strong cover crop rotation that includes rye grass, clover and grain, to ensure the soil is continually nourished.
Givskud says the relatively high elevation and fertile soils in his area of northwestern New Brunswick make it an ideal location of growing great quality seed potatoes. He sees tremendous opportunity in the future as well.
“I’m pretty optimistic,” says Givskud, who added another potato farm to the business two years ago and plans to expand his seed operation even further by buying more acres in the future.