About Hodgins Farm
Hodgins Farm is a living example of an intergenerational family farm that will continue to grow from its deep roots for years to come.
Lisa and Cameron Hodgins and their three children live in the house that Cameron was raised in, his memories of growing up on a farm as a young child still vivid. The farm was purchased in 1953 by Cameron’s grandparents. The couple was finishing post-secondary education in Brandon and knew full well that living there was not the lifestyle that they were looking for. Cameron and Lisa made the decision play an active role in the family farm in 2006, packing their bags, the couple left the city to return to the place where it all began Cameron and his father manage a herd of 140 cow/calf pairs and 130 yearlings together, as well as custom graze 60 cow/calf pairs. Since taking a holistic management course together in 2008, Cameron and his dad have improved their pastures with planned rotational grazing. The course instilled in them a view of the entire farm as a connected system, one where every aspect is reliant on the other. “It helped us ask ourselves why we are doing this – improving the land has become just as important to us as making a profit.” Aside from balancing their books and the soil, another important value to the Hodgins is family. “We see family, land and profit as a three-legged stool – if one aspect is missing, we just wouldn’t be able to do it.” An additional family venture of a dozen bee hives is ran as a partnership between Cameron and his two brothers, who come out from Brandon and Virden during the summer to harvest the sweet clover honey. “It’s been great to get them involved in the farm,” says Cameron, “They really enjoy it, too.” The original farm house stands firm in its old frame, its second floor windows overlooking the back yard edged with thick bushes and beyond that a field of mixed prairie grasses that cows once grazed. The field is now home to the Hodgins’ chickens, pigs and sheep, each group contributing to the fertility of the soil in its own way while enjoying the grass, sunshine and fresh air. The family decided to get sheep when they were expecting their daughter, Carrie, so that one day she too could participate in the farm in a way other than working with the cows. “As she gets older, she wants to do more around the farm,” says Cameron. “My chores when I was a kid were the pigs. Now, we hope that we can give our kids the same types of tasks. The farm teaches them about responsibility, about the ups and downs of life and about how to deal with them.” The couple’s youngest son, Cole, still too young to do chores, is simply enthralled by the animals and grinning at the pigs. Chase is always wanting to help mom and dad, either moving cows or feeding the chickens. Carrie enjoys visiting with the guard donkey, Coco and riding the family’s pony, Jessica. The Hodgins are grateful for their children’s ability to engage with the farm in such a hands-on way, knowledge now passed down to the next generation. “My parents love seeing the kids with the animals – they are now part of the farm too.”
Our Farming Practices
Holistic Management Holistic Management is a farm planning system that allows farmers to become better managers by utilizing the relationships between plants, soil, livestock, people, and water. Financial planning, grazing planning, land planning, and biological monitoring are all important steps in the planning system. Holistic Management International www.holisticmanagement.org Holistic Management Canada www.holisticmanagementcanada.wordpress.com
Organic Organic production works with nature avoiding the use of artificial or chemical inputs to produce food, while ensuring environmental sustainability and humane animal treatment. Organic farms must be inspected annually to ensure that they are following the Canadian Organic Standards. Pro-Cert Organic www.pro-cert.org/en Canadian Organic Standards www.inspection.gc.ca/food/organic-products/certification-and-verification/eng
Environmental Sustainability Being environmental sustainable is the practice of managing our animals and land to promote biodiversity, wildlife habitats, and healthy riparian areas. Working with nature promotes a healthy ecosystem which will help provide healthy environment for generations to come. Ducks Unlimited Canada www.ducks.ca Upper Assiniboine River Conservation District www.uarcd.com
Verified Beef National on farm food safety program for beef producers. The program outlines the safe production practices behind beef production. www.verifiedbeef.org