Meet Rick, Brian and Len from Birchwood Dairy Farm in Abbotsford, BC. Birchwood Dairy has been in the family for 51 years.
How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a dairy farmer?
Right from a young age I knew I wanted to farm.
What do you love most about being a dairy farmer? Why?
There is not one thing in particular I love about dairy farming. It is the whole package of watching your animals grow and milk well, and watching your crops grow.
What is the best piece of advice that you have received from a fellow dairy farmer?
The best advice I have gotten is to slow down and smell the roses. There is more to life than JUST working.
What is the biggest challenge in dairy farming today?
A lot of farmers would say the weather is a big challenge.
What’s one thing you wish you could tell consumers about dairy farming?
One thing I always tell [consumers] is our industry standards are some of the highest in the world and so they are guaranteed to be getting high quality milk.
How many hired staff do you have (part/full time)?
We have 2 full-time staff and 1 part-time staff member.
What family members are involved with your operation, and what are their responsibilities?
My nephew Trent who is the herdsman. Two nephews Braden and Tanner, and my daughter Ashley who do the afternoon feeding of the calves.
What is your primary breed? If it is other than Holstein, why did you choose this breed?
Are you primarily dairy focused? Do you have any other animals, or are you involved in any other type of agriculture (ie: beef, poultry, cropping, floriculture, etc.)?
Our other side of the business is we have our own processing facility and store on the farm in which we make our own bottled milk, ice cream, yogurt and cheese. Brian manages that.
The thing I am most proud of in my herd/operation is _______.
The thing that I am most proud of our operation is we are open to the public to come and see what a dairy operation is about, because most people now a days do not have access to a farm and do not know a whole lot about them, except the negative they hear on the news.
What’s your favourite dairy product?
Of course, ice cream. My favourite flavour is French Vanilla.
If you have kids: What is their favourite farm chore/activity? Why?
My youngest daughter Ashley likes to feed the calves.
Are your kids interested in continuing the family business? If not, what do they “want to be when they grow up”?
I have 3 daughters Mackenzie is 16, Kaitlyn is 15 and Ashley is 12. My has brother Brian has two sons, Braden who is 16 and Connor who is 13. My nephew Trent is 25. Right now they are young and full of ideas of what they want to be so time will tell if any of them want to carry on the family business.