The Stobbe family dairy farm is located in Mara, British Columbia. Like all dairy farmers in BC, the Stobbe family is committed to producing safe, quality milk for Canadians. We visited the farm and spoke with AJ Stobbe about his experience as a dairy farmer in BC.
How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a dairy farmer?We moved to the Okanagan right after I graduated high school, and I travelled and went away to school for six months. When I came back and we were in a new town, it was a huge adjustment. After working with my dad for a few years, I realized this was really where I wanted to be.
What has changed most about dairy farming since your family started?My grandpa started in Abbotsford in 1953. So much has changed! Cows are the same, but everything else is different. The economics of it have changed drastically. We can feed and care for our cows much better than we used to be able to – the animal science has improved incredibly. We are way more regulated – we’re not just farmers, we’re business-people as well.
What family members are involved with your operation, and what are their responsibilities?My mum and wife Breanne do all of the bookkeeping, accounting, and regulatory paperwork, and they take care of the calves. My dad as shareholder sets the direction of where we are going, and does all kinds of maintenance work in the shop – taking care of equipment, etc.
What are you most proud of about your farm?I’m proud of how much we do on our own – trucking, grainhauling, equipment maintenance, etc. We have an excellent herd of healthy cows, and we are proud of that: we feed them well and we care for them well, and they reward us with their health. We have awesome staff, who I’m proud of – they work hard, and make everything better than they found it, every day.
What’s your favourite dairy product?Ice cream!
What’s one thing you wish you could tell people about dairy farming?The dairy products that can be found in the store are the result of a huge amount of work and planning. Organizing, planting, tending to, and harvesting the crops to make the feed for the animals is part of it, along with raising and caring for the cows. We take pride in the high-quality products available to consumers, and know we’ve worked hard to get them on the shelf.