Northern Ontario beef farmer following her grandma’s career path

Meet our September Faces of Farming calendar model: Kim Jo Bliss

By Kelly Daynard

Kim Jo Bliss spent her youth on her grandma's farm, and today farms that land, raising beef cattle and sheep  in the Northern Ontario District of Rainy River.

Kim Jo Bliss spent her youth on her grandma’s farm, and today farms that land, raising beef cattle and sheep in the Northern Ontario District of Rainy River.

Emo –Kim Jo Bliss spent much of her childhood on her grandmother’s beef cattle farm. Her grandma lived around the

corner and Kim Jo’s parents always knew where to find her if she wasn’t at home.

Fast forward 40 years and Kim Jo is now managing her great uncle’s farm. “I always wanted to be a farmer,” she said in a recent interview. “I really never wanted to do anything else.”

With a herd of 50 beef cows and some sheep, Bliss continues to value both the advice from and her relationship with her grandmother. “She’s not as active as she once was,” Bliss explained, adding, “But she’s still quick to offer advice and she’ll leave me messages telling when she thinks I need to move cows to another pasture.”

Bliss also works off the farm at the Emo Agricultural Research Station, operated by the University of Guelph. The station focuses on research primarily in the areas of crop and forages.

Today, Kim Jo is an active member of the Ontario beef industry and a strong proponent of agriculture in Northern Ontario. “Northern Ontario has a lot to offer,” she explained, adding that she often drives the 3.5 hour trip to Winnipeg to fly to southern Ontario for meetings. She represents the District of Rainy River on the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association and volunteers with a lot of agricultural and community organizations.

In 2013, she was recognized by beef industry for her involvement and was nominated to be a face in the 2014 Faces of Farming calendar where she represents the month of September. “It was an honour to be nominated,” said Bliss. “I love this industry.” Her page is sponsored by the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association and Canada Beef Inc. The calendar is produced annually by Farm & Food Care Ontario and is designed to introduce Ontarians to the people who grow their food.

Bliss also enjoys passing along her knowledge and her enthusiasm to the next generation. Her two young nieces visit their aunt frequently from their home in town. “When they’re here, they just want to spend every free minute helping on the farm. That’s really rewarding to me.”

Bliss also talks about beef farming through a local column she publishes in two area newspapers. She often hears comments from readers who tell her they learn a lot from her articles.

What does she like best about beef farming? That answer comes quickly. “I love the people I work with and the people I’ve met. I like knowing I’ve helped to feed my family and friends.”

To see an interview with Kim Jo, visit – http://youtu.be/QXqIrC-YhCk

 

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