Power of three
STORMONT COUNTY Julia James life has been a whirlwind.
But back in early 2013, she was quietly toiling away, working morning to night on a rented farm in Oxford County and milking 30 cows on her own. She didnt get any sick days and struggled with having to make decisions on her own. Forget about finding a man to partner with. “Its hard to find a guy who can keep up,” she said. But within a few short months everything changed.
Farm Credit Canada announced she had won its female agriculture leadership award for Canada. She also found and bought the farmland of her dreams about 15 minutes away. Farmers Forum ran a front page story titled “Power of one.”
She also met a man. Thomas Booijink was running his own dairy farm in Stormont County, about seven hours away. James once said her motto was simple: “Once you know what you want to do, you have to go for it.”
Thomas and Julia had a baby. Felicity is now 12-months old. Before she was born, they got permission from Dairy Farmers of Ontario for a quota policy exemption to merge the quota on the Booijink farm. Thomas and Julia were married last month. In just more than a year, James had become a mother, a business partner, and a wife.
They had both been operating as sole proprietors and created a partnership this past January. They are milking between 80 and 85 cows on 400 workable acres certified organic. He was shipping organic milk and they are hoping in the future to get DFO approval to ship organic again.
“A lot happens in a year,” said James, bubbling with laughter. “You never know. Its like, I dont know if I can keep up at this pace.”