I'm a Canadian sheep farmer in western Quebec. Together with my partner, Andrew, we run 300 commercial ewes and 65 acres of forages. I grew up in the agriculture powerhouse of southwestern Ontario on a mixed farm of hogs, dairy goats and cash crop. It's been my goal and dream to have my own farm for as long as I can remember. In 2017 that dream turned into reality when Andrew and I bought our property. If this is your dream as well, you've come to the right place! The Farming Frontiers is the resource to help you achieve your goal of becoming a farmer.
After graduating from the University of Guelph with a commerce degree majoring in agriculture business, I ended up in the parts department of a farm equipment dealership. I never pictured myself at the frontlines working with farmers in their most stressful moments but I enjoyed it. To this day, I love to talk shop with other farmers about everything from markets to veterinary care.
One fateful night at a Junior Farmer event I told a friend that I was thinking about taking a book-keeping course to help farmers because the number one complaint I heard at the counter besides the weather was always about the books and finances. He told me if I was going to do it, I should do it right and study accounting. I took his advice and today I'm an accountant (CPA) in a small town in Ontario.
Having this foundation in agriculture business, accounting and business management has helped a lot in this farm entrepreneurial adventure. If I am not in the barn or have my nose buried in a novel, I’m probably sipping tea and dreaming of ways I can help other farmers build and grow their own profitable farm businesses that allow them to live their heart's desire.
Our farming journey started with when we bought 85 ewes from Kijiji in the fall of 2016. We started in a rented barn and bought our own place in the fall of 2017. These days we run 300 ewes near the town of Shawville, Quebec.
Our sheep flock is based on a foundation of thrifty Katahdin genetics with recent additions from Romanov and White Dorpers. Katahdins are a hair sheep meaning they either don't grow wool at all or they shed. In short, they do not require shearing. They come in every color you can dream of.
Our sheep are protected by our two guardian dogs, Izzy and Leo. At this point and time, we do not graze the sheep. Instead they live in a large barn built especially for sheep in 2018.
The land we run was neglected and mismanaged for years, overrun by horses and cattle. Through much research and trials, we are slowly returning life and fertility to the soil. All of the land is used for forages with the balance remaining in a swampy woodland. We have several natural springs that keep the fragile sandy soils from drying out too much.