A quote from the book of Isaiah 28: 23-29, which tells about the parable of the farmer, was a great inspiration that pushed a man whose desire and goal in life is to ensure the health and welfare of his family. Armed with this spiritual weapon coupled with his passion for rice farming, Pastor Jerry Dionson established Grace Organic Farm fourteen (14) years ago. This passion that was inculcated in his mind when he was still young made him realized that he should be a steward of God’s creation through farming. He named his farm “Grace” because he considered everything he has as graces coming from God. By coincidence, his wife and daughter are also both named Grace.
Pastor Jerry owns and manages Grace Organic Farm, which is an integrated and diversified farm with the full support of his family. He planned well his farm, where he sees to it that all commodity components must be laid out in strategic areas where the output of one commodity can be an input of another. A significant portion of the farm is designated to organic rice (black and red) production considered as his main crop. Other commodities found on the farm are:
-organic tilapia raised in a pond
-“no wash” swine that never exudes bad odor in the surroundings though they are not bathed due to an organic practice adopted. The feed for the swine is naturally fermented rice bran mixed with organic vegetable wastes from the farm. As bedding materials, Pastor Jerry mixed carbonized rice hull and rock salt sprayed with naturally fermented solutions. Once the swine are disposed of, their beddings are taken out from the pen, and after air-drying, it is used as organic fertilizer or stored in a clean polyethylene bag for future use.
-organic seed production, which he usually shares to other organic farmers as planting materials
-Vermicomposting as a primary source of organic fertilizer.
When Pastor Jerry instantaneously decided to adopt the organic farming system, his rice production for the last three years drastically dropped to 57 cavans per hectare, where his fellow farmers ridiculed him. At that time, pest infestations also compounded his problem on the farm, but this did not deter him from pursuing his desire to produce food for his family that is safe and nutritious. For three years, he painstakingly continued organic rice farming with a conviction that once his soil is rehabilitated with the adoption of organic farming practices and technologies, his harvest will improve. It did happen when, in the succeeding years, the yield of his farm started to increase. After more than 14 years of patience, dedication, and perseverance, Grace farm reaped and enjoy its bountiful harvest on rice of 139 cavans per hectare, which continues to increase every cropping until today. Aside from mentoring other farmers on the organic farming system, Grace farm also provided jobs to the community.
Due to his dedication, hard work, and passion, Pastor Jerry was recognized and given awards for several years of adopting the organic farming system. Among his awards were in:
- 2016 – National Organic Agriculture Achiever’s Award (NOAAA) Winner for Smallholder Organic Farmer both in the regional & national level;
- 2016 – GAWAD SAKA Provincial, Regional and National Awardee for Smallholder Organic Farmer;
- 2017 – Regional Awardee for Local Farmer Technician;
- 2017 – Finalist for National Organic Agriculture Achievers’ Award (NOAAA) for Smallholder Farmer and more