Most outstanding farmer named for 2013

| 23/04/2013

rankin_1.gif(CNS): Local farmer, Kent Rankin, has won the Most Outstanding Farmer award in the 2013 Cayman Islands Agriculture Show. Rankin, known locally as “Biggie”, also won runner-up for Livestock Farmer of the year for Grand Cayman, Crop Farmer of the Year for Grand Cayman and Champion Exhibitor – Pigs. Agriculture minister and premier, Juliana Connor-Connolly, congratulated Mr. Rankin on his work and award.  “We talk about fork-to-table foods, but Biggie takes this concept to a new level. Nothing on his farm goes to waste. What he doesn’t sell goes to his jerk stand. The waste from the animals — the pigs in particular — is converted to fuel,” she said. "His efforts are inspiring and the fact that he takes nothing for granted and has invested his heart and soul into farming earned him the Minister’s Award,” she added.

Rankin said, "The Show is a great way for us farmers to share our pride in farming, our accomplishments and our knowledge. I feel good that I have provided something that the public needs and appreciates.”

He adds, “One of the things I would like to see is more support from our local supermarkets. I can easily supply the entire Cayman Islands with scallion, cucumber, sweet pepper, okra, pumpkin, squash and carrots, plus the traditional ground foods. We have just about everything on our farm."

Rankin is said to have a strong love for the land and a commitment to producing quality local food. As a young boy, Rankin kept chickens, pigs and goats, but had to give up farming at the age of 16 when he went to sea to earn his living. After coming home three years later, he married and returned to farming, at which point he started again with the purchase of six cows. Some years later, he purchased the land where Rankin's Jerk Stand and Butcher Shop now stand and where his family home is located. He also leased land in the area now known as Industrial Park, for $5 a year to keep his herd of cows.

He says of his move to Bodden Town in 1986, “This is where I really started to grow. I started with 19 acres of property.” He now has 61 acres, 178 cows and 400 pigs and produces 3,000 chickens every month.

Mr. Rankin attributes much of his success to the support he receives from the Department of Agriculture. He says, “I am grateful to the Department of Agriculture's Mr. Raymond Coleman. I depend on his expertise and he fixes the problems. He knows plants and visits my farms at least once a week, sometimes more, if there is a problem. He is always in the field. I am also very grateful for Drs. Joseph Jackman and Alfred Benjamin for their local knowledge.”

“I have my farm set up in such a way that nothing goes to waste," he explained. "Most of the animal waste is recycled. For example, the chicken waste is used as fertilizer; the pig waste goes through to the bio gas system, which we use to fuel a generator to heat the pig pens when it gets too cold. The surplus crops are fed back to the cows and the pigs,” he added.

Rankin and his crew know when pigs or cows are in season.  “We take care of them right down the line. We know almost down to the day when they are going to give birth,” he said.

Rankin prides himself on his cattle. "At first I had to import 100 head of cows from Jamaica each year. But now I no longer need to do this. I rear enough these days that I don’t need to bring in cattle."

He says about his work, "I do it because I loved it. I love everything about farming." 


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