Since it happens to be Canada’s Agriculture Day today, I thought I would share about our farm.
When we tell people we “farm” for a living the assumption is that we either have cash crops or livestock or a mixture of the two. What most people don’t realize is that there are many moving parts within our “farming” operation.
We run 640 acres of land, that is a combination of land owned and land rented. On that 640 acres we grow a combination of corn, soybeans and winter wheat. We also pasture cattle, and grow hay on some of that farm land.
On the cash cropping side of things, corn & soybeans are planted in the spring, and harvested in the fall, winter wheat is planted in the fall once soybeans have been taken off, and then harvested the following summer. Soybeans and corn are alternated each year to get the best use of the nutrients in the ground. Once the crops are harvested we sell them and receive a cheque for them. Some farmers will “store” their crops to play the markets and try for the best price possible. We are able to forward contract our crops, which means we can lock in a price for a portion of our crops prior to harvest. Often, in our case we need the cash flow and sell the remainder of the crop once it has been harvested, as we would also have to pay a “storage fee” to keep the harvested crops, since we don’t have storage of our own. So we receive one cheque a year for our corn, one cheque a year for our soybeans and one cheque a year for our wheat. It can be difficult to budget on a monthly basis when income is like that.
To supplement the cash crop income, we also provide custom cutting, baling and wrapping services. We own both a round and square baler, and a wrapper. So we have a clientele base that will call us to cut their hay, bale their hay or straw, and/or wrap their hay or straw. This keeps us busy from about June through to October, sometimes into November. It is a very weather dependent service, as you “make hay when the sun shines”, as they say! The wrapper is used when hay is baled wet, and needs to stay moist without molding. This is a nice option to have when the weather doesn’t cooperate and the hay gets rained on. Horses don’t typically eat wet hay, however beef cattle are not quite as picky.
As I mentioned we grow hay on some of our acres. We are also in the business of selling hay and straw by the bale. We deal with a number of horse customers, whom buy our bales to feed their horses, or use for bedding in the barn. We have a couple of tarp barns that we have had constructed on the farm over the last couple of years that are filled with hay and straw to sell over the winter months, when we have no other source of income.
In the spring, summer, and fall months we also provide lawn maintenance services to commercial properties in Ilderton. We cut & trim the grass, clean up flower beds, etc. This is typically done on a weekly basis. In the winter months we provide snow removal services for commercial properties in Ilderton as well.
Our on farm store has been operating for the last several years. We sell the bulk of our cattle through the store in the form of meat products. However we do sell some live, fat cattle through the local Denfield Sales Barn, once they are fattened and finished.
We provide a BBQ service, where we cook large roasts on a big outdoor cooker for large groups or events. We generally use 25 lb roasts, supplied out of our own beef of course. The cooker is wood burning, and the beef on a bun tastes amazing!
Of course we also have our farm store, which is open year round Thursday, Friday and Saturday where we sell beef, chicken and pork products. We have a local supply of cheese, honey, maple syrup, jams and jellies. During the months of June through to September we are also found at the Ilderton Farmers Market, where you can purchase our meat products out of a freezer right on site.
As I said there are many working parts here on Bloomers Family Farm! At various times of the year we need many hands to make it all work. It provides many opportunities for the kids to get involved, and learn responsibility, and work ethic. All of these different avenues keep things interesting, and the operation running smoothly (for the most part:))!
It’s a nice feeling to have the opportunity to do different things and not be stuck in the same ole status quo stuff each and every day. Things change seasonally, some are definitely more exciting then others, and some you look forward to with great anticipation while others you are thankful to have, and to also move on from.
We are thankful each and every day to have our operation, and what it provides for us. The small farmer is becoming more obsolete as the years go by. We feel very blessed to be here today able to do what we love, and hope to continue growing, and evolving this dream!
Celebrating today, Canada’s Agriculture Day! Thankful to be farmers, and provide the services, and products that we have poured our blood, sweat and tears into!
As they say “If You Ate Today Today Thank A Farmer!”👨🏼🌾