My grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.
I was active on the family dairy farm in my youth before moving into managing beef cattle herds and cattle feeding. Canada’s first lady of animal welfare, I researched and developed protocols to reduce the stress of handling, receiving and maintaining optimal health in livestock, particularly cattle. I spent three decades traveling across Canada advocating for the reduction of stress on sale stock. As strong advocate of preventative health in animals and in direct marketing, this lead to demand as speaker and farm writer.
As a grazier, I also employed technology and common sense to ensure that the land is ecologically balanced and at optimal performance. Many young people had their first exposure to gazing concepts by walking our fields. As a single mother I learned a lot about purpose through farming and today continue that tradition of the revolving door of knowledge as I hosted guests from around the world for walking tours and lively discussions. To further my education in that regard, I obtained my international permaculture design certificate.
A farm writer, my opinion column Straight from the Hip continues to challenge the status quo and any injustice to the people, animals or the environment of farming. At the same time, my passion for agriculture and a balanced approach from visiting and working on farms around the world are clearly inspirational for today’s speaking and reading audience. It is the biggest business of all – the business of food and it is important to share it. As a farmer I fully appreciate that agriculture is profoundly personal and at the same time deeply connected to the global economic scene. My studies on the development of mentorship programs for women reflect my desire for gender equality in agriculture and the importance of this in global society.
As a compliment with the farm I ran a rescue horse operation. Using my knowledge of animals, the horses learned to relax and trust, and often strengthen in mind and body to obtain great feats. Here is one story on the healing power of farming and farmers.
As a farmer – I care for people, for animals and have a deep respect for the earth. I strive to understand the world in which I live, knowing that collectively, farmers are the foundation of every civilization and the weavers of economic prosperity.