2023 #HowNSAgs Winner – David Meister

Photo by Laura Driscoll of elle_dee_photography. See more of her work at www.instagram.com/elle_dee_photography/?hl=en

We chatted with the 2023 #HowNSAgs winner, David Meister, to learn more about him and what his NS Ag looks like. Here’s what we learned:

Tucked away in the heart of New Ross, you will find Bar M Ranch, owned and operated by David Meister and his wife Christina Caldwell. David is a 6th generation farmer, who grew up on this farm not thinking this is where he would end up. But after working out west in a corporate environment, David and his wife decided it was time to move back to Nova Scotia and become more connected to their food sources.

Bar M Ranch is a mixed operation of cattle, produce, and forestry products. However, they have recently expanded into the field of agritourism as well, with on farm events and even a farm stay house!

Growing up, David always helped around the farm and in the woods with his father and grandfather.

“At a young age, I enjoyed it but never felt like it was something I would want to do or be more involved with as a I got older,” David reminisced.

But life has a way of coming full circle sometimes, and David and his wife (who also grew up on a farm) found themselves wanting to get back into it.

Currently, they operate their farm with the same products as his father and grandfather, but with a different structure.

“We have fewer cattle than previous generations but more focus on hay production and yield, as well as high-quality grass-fed beef. My wife and I are also expanding the farm into more of a learning and agritourism destination,” David explained.

His father was his biggest personal influence when it came to farming.

“My father loved being in the woods and around cattle. Getting to experience that at a young age, and then again when I moved home, helped draw me back into agriculture.”

As he got older, David found a passion for being more connected to his food sources and having more control over how it’s raised and grown. At Bar M Ranch, their goal is to raise high quality beef and grow amazing produce while maintaining a healthy environment. Together, the duo wants to build the farm as a hub for learning agriculture practices with workshops and other events for the public to attend.

When asked what he loves most about Nova Scotia agriculture, David had a hard time deciding where to start – but shared how he loves the connection and community of other farmers and the ways everyone shares their experience, knowledge, and resources.

“The local food movement here is also so connected to NS Agriculture that it’s a joy for me to be so connected to direct consumers of farm products,” David added.

Any advice that he would like to share with young farmers or young adults looking to get into the agriculture industry?

“Everyone’s experience is different, but for my wife and I, mentoring and having a farming mentor should be one of the first things you try and establish. We had my father as a mentor for 11 years on the farm and although my wife and I came with some farm knowledge, he taught us so much about the land and processes he used as well as learnings he had over the years. From that mentorship we have been able to build and expand the farm on the learning from him and our own learning. That was much easier, especially in the early days, with a mentor. I would also suggest having a good understanding of basic farm finances and economics so there is less of a chance of financial risk. If you’re interested in learning about best practices in farming, you can check out our farm website for events www.barmranch.ca.”