J & L Walker Dairy – Futurecrest Holsteins, Aylmer, ON
This three-generation family farm is one of the largest dairy farms in Canada. In 1996, Jon Walker Jr. purchased the home farm from his father, John Walker Sr. and amalgamated his prefix Futurecrest with Walker Farms. A new facility with a 50 stall rotary Parlour was built 2008 to house 1,000 milk cows. All heifers are raised at another farm. The Walker family has owned many All-Canadian and All-Ontario nominated animals. The family also operates Walker Dairy Sales, where monthly auction sales have been held since 1962.
Maplekeys Farms – The Vis Family, Aylmer, ON
MapleKeys Farms is owned and operated by the Vis family. Paul and his wife MaryAnne, along with their children Jason, Kevin and Tammy. The farm also employees two full-time hired men. This family farm consists of 650 acres and a 250 cow free-stall barn with a double 10 parlour. This is a unique barn as a 15 cow tie-stall barn is attached to the main barn, to house better show and flush animals with embryo transfer work on four to five animals each year. Heifer’s calves are raised in a heifer barn until 8 weeks of an age and then moved to a barn that houses all the open heifers. Breeding age heifers and dry cows/springers are housed in a barn close to the main dairy barn so they can be watched closely. Bred heifers are housed in a feed lot style barn that is split into about 10 pens. The herd, which has prominent cow family members from Fradon Encount Gala (VG-88-2*) and Barka Broker Cocasse (VG-87-1*), has a herd classification of 5 EX, one EX-95 4E, 85 VG, with the reminder of the herd GP. The farm has achieved an impressive nine All-Canadian nominations.
Gay Lea Dairy Heritage Museum, Aylmer, ON
Beginning in the 1980’s, Andy and Lotty van Kasteren began to collect older dairy and heritage items to commemorate the traditions of past farm families and trade smiths. In 2008 Gay Lea purchased the museum, its contents and the property. Items showcased at the museum include milking equipment dating back to the early 1900’s, previous True-Type cow models, pictures and articles, and dairy industry awards and accolades.
A delicious lunch was sponsored by Gay Lea and the Dairy Farmers of Ontario