let's talk farm animals

Introducing the farmers of March in the 2012 Faces of Farming calendar

 by Patricia Grotenhuis

Research and development are critical components of Rob and Jim Judge’s work as hog farmers.  They have been working to improve pig genetics in Ontario and shipped a group of pigs with their improved genetics to Korea recently.

The father/son team of Jim and Rob are the faces of March in the 2012 Faces of Farming calendar

The father-son team is featured in the 2012 Faces of Farming calendar, which is published by the Farm Care Foundation. Their page in the calendar was sponsored by New Life Mills, a supplier to their business.  Their Simcoe-area farm family has a “farrow to finish” type of hog farm which means that the pigs are born on the farm and raised there until they go to market. The family also raises chickens and crops in addition to the pigs. 

The Judges are very involved in pig genetic improvements.  In addition, they attend many courses to learn about improvements and changes they can incorporate into their farm.  Training farm employees is also important to them, so they can be confident that anyone working on their farm knows how to properly care for the animals, crops and equipment.
Although Jim left the farm when he was younger, he was keen to return after working as both a fertilizer salesman and then in a job selling livestock feed. “It was something I always wanted to do.  I was raised on a farm and always wanted to get back to it,” says Jim.

Jim bought the farm from one of his feed customers, and continued selling feed until 1982.  At that point, he decided he wanted to focus on the farm itself.

Jim became involved in provincial and national farm organizations including the Board of Directors of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.  In the 1990’s, Jim helped to start a small processing plant.  Currently, Jim is also a director for an Ontario ethanol plant. Now semi retired, he also enjoys lawn bowling and golfing in Florida during the winter months.

Jim has been married to his wife Shirley for 42 years, and they have three children.  The oldest of their children, Rob, has remained on the farm to be in charge of the day to day operations and the marketing.  Rob’s wife of 19 years, Judy, is also actively involved on the farm, working as the office manager.  The couple has four children, the oldest of which helps on the farm during the summer. 

Rob says the farm has always been a work in progress, so they continually make updates which will benefit their livestock and land.  They work closely with their farm suppliers and veterinarian to ensure animal welfare is a priority through the entire life cycle of the animals and birds.

Taking care of the environment is also important on the farm.  The Judges implemented a Nutrient Management Plan about eight years ago to ensure proper amounts of fertilizers are being applied to the land. 

Both Rob and Jim know that the farm is where both belong. “I enjoy the challenge.  It’s what I do and it’s also a lifestyle,” says Rob.

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on March 15th, 2012 :: Filed under Animal care,Canada,Family vs factory farming,Farm life,Innovation and technology,Pigs,Sustainability of the family farm
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