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Generational farm could be impacted if Wilmot land assembly goes ahead


A family of farmers say their operations would be significantly impacted if the Region of Waterloo goes ahead with a land assembly project in the Wilmot Township area.

Mountainoak Cheese, a dairy farm founded by Adam Van Bergeijk in 1996, owns and rents land within the 770 acres the region is eyeing.

In March, land owners say they were approached by region representatives who were looking to buy land for large-scale investments that have not been made public. The land being considered is located between Nafziger Road, Bleams Road and Wilmot Centre Road.

“It was an offer that I would not accept for the value that they appraised the farm at. It’s unreasonable,” said Arjo Van Bergeijk, the current Mountainoak Cheese operator and Adam’s son.

“They said if we don’t agree upon their price, there’s a chance of expropriation.”


Adam started the farm after moving to Ontario from Holland, where he also ran a dairy farm.

“We processed a big part of our milk over there as well, and were making cheese. That’s what we do here now,” Adam said.

“We came here in ’96 to create a nice place for our family to farm and we had hope that this is going to be a nice place for the future of our children, as well.”

They started with 200 acres and milking just over 100 cows. That has increased significantly over the years as his sons took over and split the farm into two sections.

“The whole farm is milking over 250, and we increased the farm land as well,” Adam said.

“We own 700 acres.”

As Adam and his wife’s two sons and daughter grew up, they helped more and more with the farm until it was time to take it over.

“I was always there. After school, before school, all the time,” Arjo said.

The goal was always to pass the farm down through the generations, which Arjo’s 12-year-old son Jake is already looking forward to.

“I would like to take over the farm. Hopefully I’ll work for my dad for a little while, and then hopefully take the farm and be the next generation,” Jake said.

Unknown Future

On March 8, the future of Mountainoak Cheese, which was always so clear, became murky.

Arjo said they were approached by region representatives looking to acquire the land. He said they, and other land owners, are not interested in selling and losing farm land.

He said the region is looking at a significant portion of their land, which they currently use to grow crops to feed their cows.

“We’re all in a crop rotation we call that. We switch our crops around. We bought that farmland for security for our future,” Arjo said.

“The impact that [losing land] would have on our operation here is that rotations are going to be a lot tighter, manure management is going to be a lot harder because I do have to go somewhere with my nutrients, and all that is going to be a lot tighter to be able to apply it where it needs to be applied, and how much we can apply per acre. We’re going to be pushing everything to the max.”

Since the farm was initially approached, Arjo said they still haven’t heard any updates from the region about what’s happening.

“They don’t want to communicate. Even if we’re there as delegates at the council meetings, everybody has signed NDAs and nobody is willing to talk or speak or communicate with us which is extremely frustrating,” Arjo said, adding it’s been difficult to decide if they should seed or not this spring.

Ultimately, he said they are going to plant their crops and hope they don’t lose it.

Arjo said the lawyer representing area landowners is in talks with lawyers representing the region, and he hopes for updates to come soon.

The Region of Waterloo has also remained tight-lipped with the media throughout this process.

In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson said the land assembly project for future large-scale investment remains ongoing.

“While the details of the negotiations remain confidential, we are committed to engaging with the landowners involved and it is our goal to reach fair and equitable agreements for all landowners,” the region said.

As they wait for more information about the future of their own land, the Van Bergeijks say they’ll continue on with what matters most: farming and family. Top Stories

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