One of my favourite fall pastimes is baking. I could easily spend an entire day in my kitchen whipping up treats for my family. Part of the reason is because, come September, I miss my kitchen. It is no place to be in the summer, and therefore, I spend as little time in it as possible then and must make up for it in the months to come.

Lee karen
Managing Editor / Progressive Dairy

That is with one exception, of course. Several years ago I was coaxed into entering a pie-baking competition held at a local fair in early July.


To my surprise, I was awarded grand champion for one of my entries that year. Last year, the same honour was bestowed on me. So by now, I had developed a sense of the judges’ tastes and whipped up what was sure to be another winner.

To my dismay, the fair found a new pair of judges for the event, and my soon-to-be-champion pie was given a second-place ribbon.

Apparently these judges were looking for the pies to be made completely from scratch and my combination of a boxed pudding mix, tubs of whipped topping, pre-packaged snack cakes and candy bars didn’t quite cut it as homemade for them. I guess I can’t really argue with them.


But starting from scratch can be very difficult. There are a lot more pieces involved, and the risk is usually far greater.

That is probably why it is much more common for us to see young dairymen and dairywomen joining existing operations to get their stakehold in the industry.

There is certainly something to be said about carrying on the family tradition. What an honour it is to say that you are working the land your father did and his father did and so on.

At the same time, I really have to tip my hat to those young producers who start from scratch. The ones that have to purchase or rent land, build buildings, buy equipment – from tractors to calf buckets – find animals and obtain quota. They need to secure all of this just for the chance to make a career out of farming.

Starting from scratch usually comes with an enrollment in the school of hard knocks, as well. These producers will learn the lessons seasoned dairy producers have already conquered.

What heart, what passion, what drive must someone have to take on the challenge of starting a farm from scratch?

They are very special people. Those individuals will be strong assets to the dairy industry for many years to come.

I am proud to say we’ve found one of those go-getters. On page 30, read how Emily Mattice has recently started farming in Ontario.

While her roots are deep into dairy farming, her family’s farm was destroyed by fire when her father, Chuck, was just child. Now, nearly 50 years later and with Chuck’s help, Emily is picking up the pieces with her own dairy farm.

Hats off to you, Emily, for having the courage and conviction to start from scratch. May you be blessed with much success in dairying! PD