How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a dairy farmer?
I grew up on a beef hobby farm. I loved spending time with our cows and calves. I was always an outdoorsy, tomboyish sort of person, and I remember telling my parents when I was around 7 or 8 years old that I wanted to work on a farm when I grew up. My dream came true!
What do you love most about being a dairy farmer?
We love the lifestyle. Dairy farming is, for us, a family affair. Our children, young as they are, are involved in many aspects of the farm. They are interested in all things dairy farming related and like to help out with chores whenever possible. This type of family effort keeps us close and connected; we’re all working toward a common goal. It’s a busy life – dairy farming is not a 9-5 Monday through Friday job! We’re on call 24/7, and work early mornings and late nights – but it’s wonderful working with beautiful gentle animals, watching our crops grow, and harvesting the fruits of our summer’s labour to feed our animals in the winter. It’s a supremely satisfying occupation.
What is the biggest challenge in dairy farming today?
Connecting with consumers is challenging in today’s farming environment. Back in the “olden days” consumers bought their dairy products directly from the farmer. Now, consumers have no idea where the dairy products they purchase come from. With only 2% of the population involved in agriculture, many consumers have absolutely no connection to the farm. This provides an environment for myths and misrepresentations to take hold. We believe that farmers should be involved in sharing their farms with the public so that our consumers will feel connected to the farm and their farmers and realize they have no need to fear their food.
What’s one thing you wish you could tell people about dairy farming?
Farmers care. We feel affection for the animals under our care. We treat our cows with respect and compassion, not only because a well-cared for cow is a productive cow, but mostly because it simply is the right thing to do. We farm because we love our animals, we love our farms, we love working the land. Farming truly is a labour of love.
What family members are involved with your operation, and what are their responsibilities?
Johannes is mostly involved in the day to day farm duties and responsibilities in the barns. This involves milking, feeding, and field work. I fill in with barn and field/tractor work as needed, and I milk at least one shift per week. I am also in charge of the farm bookwork, including the yearly SPCA and Organic certification renewals, as well documenting the materials required under the ProAction initiative.
What are you most proud of on your farm?
Our herd health. We very rarely have health issues that require a veterinarian’s involvement. Our cows live long, healthy, and happy lives on our farm!
What’s your favourite dairy product?
Johannes, my husband, loves whipped cream, straight from the spray can is best! I love Greek Yogurt. The honey flavoured Greek Gods brand is my absolute favourite. I can finish a whole container in one sitting!
What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not farming?
We enjoy taking our little boat out to nearby Harrison Lake with our kids. We camp out on a deserted beach and do a whole lot of nothing – I mean, swimming, exploring, fishing, etc. The ultimate relaxation time!
What are your kids' favourite farm chores?
Our kids love feeding and spending time with the calves. Who doesn’t enjoy spending time with those adorable, cuddly, and affectionate little bovines?
Are your kids interested in continuing the family business? If not, what do they “want to be when they grow up”?
So far, all of our kids are very interested in farming...well, six month old Avery hasn’t stated her opinion yet.
How long has this farm been in your family?
This farm has been in our family for 7 years.
Julaine Treur, Creekside Dairy