I still remember the sideways look my dad launched across the barn back in high school when I told him I wanted to study media. It was during a morning milking that he had asked me what university programs I had applied to.
My family runs a dairy farm in Eastern Ontario. We milk 50 Jersey cows in a tie stall barn. Our land is entirely for feed crops (corn, barley, oats and alfalfa) for the cows and grass pastures. Being that I was the eldest boy in the family, there were many assumptions that I would go on to take over the farm. And while I do miss farming some days, I know I am exactly where I should be and I can always go back home to help my brothers down the road.
To my dad’s delight, I ended up at the University of Guelph studying Marketing Management and soon started Farm Boy Productions – a multi-media company focused on agricultural photography and videography. When many were skeptical of a business making videos and websites for farms and agri-business, my dad was my first and biggest supporter.
In my first year, I started by creating a horse farm video and a dairy farm website. Returning to Guelph in the fall for school, I started building a client base in western Ontario.
Very early on I knew I loved my job. Traveling to many types of farms and getting to meet farmers and their families from across Ontario is a very rewarding experience.
Now that Farm Boy Productions is my full time job, I have had five years of exposure to every part of the industry – livestock, machinery, cropping and all types of farms. I get to promote products and programs to farmers and I get to promote this amazing industry to our neighbours in the city.
Both sides of my family have been farming for generations, and I have the honour and pleasure to use my knowledge of farming with my family and my skills as a marketer and video producer to show our city neighbours what we do as farmers.
They say do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. I love farming and I love producing videos and photos. Through my camera lens I see the beauty of agriculture. I get to see and capture the gift of life in a newborn calf and I get to see the growing seasons through time-lapse cameras. I have also seen the lows of farming, whether it be urban sprawl, drought, hail, frost, wind and floods.
But most importantly I see the highs and the resilience of our industry – generations of family working together to grow a farm, record yields with minimal inputs, and all sectors of agriculture coming together in support of farm and food care. There is no question we in agriculture have opponents trying to tell our story – but with the resilience of our farmers and the support from Farm & Food Care, we reach more and more people everyday.
There is no question; working on the Farm & Food Care: Faces of Farming Calendar in Ontario is my absolute favourite project I work on every year. We get to spend a few days each summer taking photos and videos to make the calendar and each year we get to meet more great farmers and their families. It is always a very light-hearted and fun day.
The number one lesson I have seen through my camera while working for Farm & Food Care and many other clients is how much farmers care. It’s a point I always share whether it’s through social media or at the Royal Winter Fair when talking to consumers. We care for our animals and crops because it’s the right thing to do. This is something we have deeply embedded in us from the generations of family and friends who taught us. We live, love, eat and breathe where we work on the farm and I know my dad wants nothing more than safe, healthy, wholesome milk to put on our table for my family and they families who drink our milk also.
In closing, Farmers – keep up the great work and give people like me in the media great stories to share. To our neighbors in the city, we welcome your discussions and questions – but don’t forget to ask the internet and a farmer.
There is no question in my mind that I am exactly where I am meant to be. Attending the University of Guelph ignited a passion within me for agriculture and marketing. I can promote the industry that I love and that has provided for seven generations of my family. At the end of a busy work week, you can very often find me at home in eastern Ontario on weekends either leading 4-H or helping on the farm. There is nothing more fulfilling than sitting down at the end of a long day and looking out on what my family has accomplished. Even though I live in Guelph for now, farming is in my bones, and that will never go away.
We’re blogging about Canadians working in agriculture. Each month, we’ll feature someone different on www.realdirtblog.ca to show how diverse our Canadian agriculture industry is! Know someone that we should feature? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.