BC Dairy Farmer
Tell us about your family farm.
Our farm is in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. In total we farm about 350 acres and milk 120 Holstein dairy cows. We are 3rd generation dairy farmers and together we have been farming since 1995 at the current location. We farm with Dave’s brother Will and his wife Heather. As well, both of our sons (4th generation) are currently working on the farm and we hope their children (5th generation) may want to someday take what we have done and make it even better.
Do you participate in any certification programs?
The Dairy Farmers of Canada proAction program helps us demonstrate responsible stewardship of our animals and the environment, and to sustainably produce high-quality, safe, and nutritious food for consumers. There are requirements we must meet under 6 different pillars including: animal care, food safety, milk quality, the environment, biosecurity, and traceability. Each of these pillars are extensive with Standard Operating Procedures, required practices, recommended practices and lots of record keeping. This provides assurance to dairy processors and consumers that BC dairy farmers are following a consistent set of standards implemented across Canada.
What are some of the ways that you try to keep your farm sustainable for future generations?
We take pride in caring for things around us, not because of any requirement but because we want to be excellent farmers. Our animals are a part of us. We name them, we feed them, we keep their housing clean and warmly bedded and through this give them any care that they need. We also care for our land. It needs to produce crops, but it also needs to be cared for, so we focus on treating it with respect and building the soil with appropriate nutrients. Sustainability is all about caring and preservation and that is why we talk about ourselves as being stewards.
Why is local food production important to the community?
Local farming on Vancouver Island is incredibly important. We are fully aware that there is not enough food produced on the island to support consumers here for more than a few days at a time. Our desire is to see healthy farms continue and to see new farmers start local food production. Communities need to support local production so that we can continue to have safe, affordable food available for our families.
We love to farm. It is a wholesome, healthy lifestyle where we interact with our animals, our land, and our community. Farms like ours are deeply rooted in the community and we take pride in providing our island, and our province, with quality, local milk that is produced responsibly.