How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a dairy farmer?
Gene: When I could walk. It’s always something I’ve just done and wanted to do.
Grant: My whole life.
What do you love most about being a dairy farmer? Why?
Gene: Sharing the lifestyle with my family. I enjoy the changing seasons, watching crops grow, and raising animals.
Grant: It’s rewarding work, to see the results of our efforts in the health and productivity of our herd.
What is the best piece of advice that you have received from a fellow dairy farmer?
Grant: To be happy with what you have and grateful for the opportunity to do the work that we do.
Gene: I’ll second that.
What has changed most about dairy farming since your family started?
Gene: Technology – I don’t think our parents ever thought we’d eventually be milking with robots when they started
Grant: The technology in our new barn is very different from how our parents farmed: milking robots, alley scrapers, and a sand lane. We also have more knowledge today of preventative health care for our animals.
What is the biggest challenge in dairy farming today?
Gene: Communicating with consumers about what we do and how we take care of our animals and our land.
Grant: The cost and availability of land.
What’s one thing you wish you could tell consumers about dairy farming?
Gene: Our animals come first. I wish they knew the care and concern we take in the way we treat them each day.
Grant: The primary area of concern is the health and well being of our herd.
What family members are involved with your operation, and what are their responsibilities?
Gene: Grant and I work together every day – he’s in the barn and I feed. Our Mom Jill is still an active part of the operation, raising young stock. My wife Sarah does our business and accounting and helps with barn chores and field work. We have a lot of fun with all our kids in the barn doing calves and riding bikes.
What are you the most proud of?
Gene: I’m proud of the quality of feed we grow to feed to our animals.
Grant: I’m proud of our production, which is a reflection of our preventative health. We take very good care of our animals.
What would you most like to improve in your herd/operation?
Gene: We’re always looking for ways to be good stewards of the land and environment and more sustainable. There’s always room for improvement there.
What is the ultimate goal of your operation?
Gene: To do our best. To enjoy what we do and have fun.
Grant: To provide high quality product and have a strong, healthy herd.
Do you have a favourite cow? Why is she your favourite?
Gene: Our kids do! They’ve both got pets they’re raising and keeping track of in the barn.
Grant: Our 3 year old daughter likes our red Holsteins best.
What’s your favourite dairy product?
Gene: Chocolate milk! And cream in my coffee.
Grant: Plain Greek yogurt. I eat it for breakfast every morning.
What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not farming?
Gene: Time with my family off the farm, and the occasional ploughing match.
Grant: Spending time with my wife and kids. I also enjoy playing hockey.
If you could dairy farm anywhere in the world, barring any financial or physical barriers, where would you go? Why?
Grant: I think we farm in a beautiful part of the world already. We couldn’t be luckier to have the land that we farm on.
Do you name your cows? If so, what is your favourite/most unique name for a cow? Who named her?
Grant: Our daughter likes to name the calves, usually after Disney princesses or favourite family members. Each of our cows is known by a number, but I can identify them all just based on their appearance.
What are your kids' favourite farm chores/activities? Why?
Gene: Our boys are four and six and love pushing up feed and feeding grain to the heifers. They have their own small shovels and pails and have a great time doing their part. They also love riding in the silage truck or harvester when they can.
Grant: My 10 month old son is too young to participate yet, but my daughter loves feeding calves with Grandma and riding her “wiggle car” up and down the feed alley.
Are your kids interested in continuing the family business? If not, what do they “want to be when they grow up”?
Gene: They’re young, but they both love animals. Our youngest is running around in a vet costume these days. Who knows?!
Grant: They are too young for us to know yet, but they seem to enjoy their time on the farm. Right now, our daughter says she wants to be a teacher like her Mommy.
|Farmers' names||Gene Sache & Grant Sache|
|Farm location||Rosedale, BC|
|Herd size||300 cows|
|Milking herd||130 cows|
|Milking type||3 Lely robots|
|Housing type||free stall, sand bedded|
|This farm has been in our family for 40 years.|