What is the name of your farm?
Creekside Dairy. We farm in British Columbia, Canada. We’re a certified organic dairy farm, and our milk is available directly to consumers via the Happy Planet Creamery line.
When was your farm established & what generation is currently on the farm?
Our dairy farm was established in 2011, although we have been farming since 2003. We are 5th generation dairy farmers, albeit the first generation to farm here in Canada. My husband can trace his dairy roots in the Netherlands back to the 1800s. We’re raising our four children to hopefully be the 6th generation of Treur dairy farmers.
How many cows do you milk & what breed?
We milk 100 cows and farm 200 acres of mainly corn and grass for the cows as well as some wheat for human
consumption. Our cows are Holstein/Brown Swiss crosses. We’re breeding our entire herd to Brown Swiss – we think the Swiss calving ease, strength of feet and legs, and grazing capabilities are a good match for organic farming.
Why do you farm?
We farm because we love the cows, and we love the land. We are passionate about stellar animal care and welfare. We farm because it truly is in our blood, and it’s this passion for our lifestyle that keeps pushing us forward
to improve what we have to perhaps offer our children the chance to also live this incredible life on the farm one day.
What is one thing you wish consumers knew about you, your farm and/or dairy farming in general?
I wish consumers knew just how much we care. We pour our hearts into our farms, into our cows. Our cows come first – always. We’re firmly committed to offering our cows the best life possible by staying on top of the latest research and advances in animal welfare, nutrition, and environmental sustainability. I also wish that consumers knew that this passion is not label-dependent. For example, slapping that organic label on our farm’s milk doesn’t
mean that our milk is better than our conventional dairy farmer neighbour’s milk from just down the road or that our cows are treated more humanely or ethically. Organic dairy farming is a good fit for our farm and for our family, but it’s not a good fit for every farm and every situation. And that’s okay. It’s these differences that make the dairy industry vibrant and interesting, and it creates so very many opportunities to learn from each other.
What is the biggest concern you might have in regards to the future of dairy farming?
Here in Canada, the biggest threat to our industry is the lack of knowledge about of supply managed system. We’re extremely grateful to farm under this framework, as it guarantees a fair return to the farmer without increasing consumer costs. Unfortunately, various politicians and political groups do not seem to want to understand that this system benefits consumers and farmers alike, and so we’re looking ahead to the future with some trepidation. We’re hopeful that saner heads will prevail and that the status quo will be maintained for years to come.