Plowing Matches have been a part of Ontario’s agricultural history for well over a century. They are an opportunity for farmers to display their skills in plowing and to teach the importance of soil conservation. At our local match our plowmen use equipment ranging from the newer reversible plows to walking plows with a team of horses. Examples of a century of agricultural history can be found in one field. Participants’ work in the field is scored in ten areas with the final score being out of 200 for tractors, and 180 for horses. These scores are used to determine if the participant has the skill level needed to participate at the International Plowing Match (IPM).
The Ottawa Carleton Plowmen’s Association (OCPA) is celebrating its 90th year in 2014. In 1919 Melvin A. Powell of Marlborough Township encouraged other plowmen from the area to create the Marlborough and North Gower Plowmen’s Association. This group was very active. Along with its annual plowing matches it hosted its first International Plowing Match (IPM) in 1932 at the Central Experimental Farm.
The OCPA is a member of the Ontario Plowing Association and works to promote agriculture in the Ottawa area. Since 2002 the OCPA has been involved in the Plowing for a Cure golf event in the hopes of fulfilling the Navan IPM’s dream of supporting the Ottawa Hospital. Money raised has gone to colon, lung, liver and colorectal cancer research. In its eight years, this event has raised $144,717 for The Ottawa Hospital Foundation. Thanks to matching funds programs available to the Hospital for our projects, this amount has blossomed into an overall contribution of $424,914 for Ottawa Hospital Cancer Center programs.
The OCPA also works to support 4H activities in the Ottawa area. In the past this has been done through financial support for projects such as competing at the Royal Winter Fair and work with 4H members in the plowing and environmental club.