A Dairy Story
Nestled between Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Hudson Bay is the beautiful Canadian prairie province of Manitoba. This agriculturally rich farming region is home to approximately 306 family-owned and run dairy farms that collectively produce more than 890,000 litres of milk every day.
The Friesen Family:
Representing Manitoba’s Dairy Best in the land of milk and honey
Ed and Kathy Friesen own and run Friecrest Holsteins Ltd, a 16 year-old farm in Kleefeld, Manitoba ‘the land of milk and honey’. Every member of the family has a role to play in this fully-fledged dairy farm. With 5am starts and 10:30pm ends, 75-80 cows and 75,000 liters of milk produced a month, this family knows all there is to know about dairy farming.
What’s a typical day like on your farm?
Ed: Our day starts with morning chores from 5:00am-8: 30am with milking, bedding and feeding the cows and calves. From 9:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-3: 30pm we do various tasks such as: animal care, record-keeping, barn and equipment maintenance and repair. At 4:00pm – 6:30pm we do our evening chores of milking, bedding & feeding the cows and calves. Finally at 10:30 pm we do an evening barn check. Our work is seasonal with fieldwork such as planting & harvesting hay, haylage & corn silage.
Did you always know that you wanted to have a dairy farm?
Ed: I grew up on a dairy farm and was also employed on another dairy farm prior to purchasing our family farm. Farming has always been a dream of mine and a few years after we were married we began to actively search for our own farm. Kathy grew up on a mixed hog and grain farm and wasn’t anticipating being a farmer’s wife when we married. However, the benefits of raising a family on the farm have far out-weighed the disadvantages.
What’s the best thing about being a dairy farmer?
Ed: We enjoy the opportunity of being our own boss and working closely with our family. Dairy farming has also given me the opportunity to travel, as I have been involved in numerous dairy boards. Currently, I chair the CanWest DHI board and vice-chair on the Canadian Dairy Network board.
What’s one thing you want people to know about dairy farming?
Ed: Most people don’t understand the level of care that we give our animals on a daily basis. Our goal is to provide a safe and nutritious product daily, and in order to do that we need to ensure our cows receive the best care and nutrition possible.
What’s your favorite dairy product?
Kathy: Yogurt – I have been making homemade yogurt almost weekly for well over a year now. We enjoy our natural yogurt with fruit and homemade granola. It’s a great breakfast!
Family favourite ‘Dairy Best’ recipe: Belgian Waffles.
To learn the Hueging family’s Dairy Story, click here.