The Kemptville College Alumni Association recently presented their two scholarships.
Pictured are the two recipients and the presenters. ( Gordon, Dylan, Arden & Mel )
Gordon French, Alumni President, presented Dylan Wallace, from Kemptville, with his scholarship. Dylan is in his second year at the Perth Campus of Algonquin College in the Business Agriculture Program. Dylan hopes to eventually take over his family’s cash crop farm and logging operation.
Mel Shannon, Alumni Vice President, presented Arden McWilliams from Navan with his scholarship. Arden is in his second year of a three-year Farm Management & Technology Program at MacDonald College in Saint Anne de Bellevue. Arden plans on working as an agronomist and helping on the family farm.
Congratulations to Dylan and Arden for applying and receiving the $1000 scholarships.
In the 1950s when Bob Dobson was a boy, the Ministry of Agriculture was encouraging farmers to cut down trees to increase the efficient use of lands. At that time, Bob remembers walking down a shady, cool lane to fetch the cows at milking time. It was so much cooler than the surrounding open fields. On hot summer days it was a pleasant task to walk in the shade of the trees.
After graduating from Kemptville Agricultural college in 1962, Bob lived in Toronto for a few years. Maybe trees, grass and shade were in the back of his mind when he bought the family farm in 1967. Since that time, Bob has planted over 40,000 trees. He remembers his first purchase of trees when he bought three thousand trees for $30.00 – one cent a tree!
Very early he noticed the water quality in the streams on the farm where he had planted tree buffers was much cleaner. This has lead to more squirrels, birds, muskrats and the odd beaver. Bob’s sense of humour is very evident when he mentions,“ The squirrels are helping with the planting now since oak trees are now appearing where he didn’t plant them!”
Bob’s stewardship efforts have been widely recognized. In 1995 he won the first Environmental Stewardship Award from the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association. The award recognized outstanding projects on the Dobson farm that enhance and protect waterways, create bird and wildlife habitat and provide shade and protection for both cattle and grassland. In 1996, Bob was awarded an Honorary Life Membership in the Ontario Institute of Agrologists and he was inducted into the Renfrew County Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2003. Over the years, Bob has provided hundreds of tours to farmers, students, agrology professors and others interested in learning about his innovative environmental stewardship initiatives. Delegations from as far away as China, Korea and Mexico have visited the farm to learn and be inspired.
Taking care of the land and enhancing biodiversity have been long-term goals on the Dobson farm. Bob believes we must be good stewards of the land in order for our way of life to be sustainable well into the future. He strongly feels that human health is directly related to the environmental health of the farms that feed us.
As well as taking care of the land, Bob values his friendship with his 1962 fellow grads. Each year they get together at a yearly reunion. The picture above shows the grads who were able to attend in 2022. Fifty-one years of planting trees and sixty-one years of keeping friendships with fellow grads shows us that Bob is certainly a grad that is proud to foster sustainable ecosystems and friendships!
We bring in 2023 by highlighting someone who is a Kemptville College Grad, Kemptville College Instructor, and Kemptville College Liaison to Alumni.
Blair Dow graduated from Kemptville in 1984 and was employed at Kemptville College from 1988 to 2008. While at the college, Blair was very involved with the College Royal. He wanted every student to have a hands-on experience with the College Royal activities. It was the same with the courses he taught at the college. Many students have remarked about their learning experiences being “hands-on”. Blair enjoyed teaching Animal Science courses as well as the Dairy Apprenticeship Program and has stayed in touch with many of the students who graduated while he was there.
For the next ten years, Blair taught at Lakeland College in Alberta ( 2008 – 2018). This meant leaving Metcalfe with his wife Lisa and son Travis and living in Vermilion, Alberta. When visiting the college while Blair was teaching there, it was interesting to have students come up to me and say, “That is my heifer.” I thought they had brought their heifer to the college – but no – once again, Blair’s hands-on approach with the AI courses showed students their success. They felt with AI success at the college, that really was their heifer.
In 2018, Blair and his family moved back to Metcalfe, and Blair was then hired to be an instructor at the Business- Agricultural Diploma Course at Algonquin College, Perth Campus (2019 – 2021)
Blair’s love of sheep was always in his background. Bill Dow, his grandfather, gave him his first sheep when he was five years old. Today Blair, his wife Lisa, and his son Travis own “Three D Suffolks.” Pictured above is the picture of the First place Suffolk Ram Lamb at the 2022 Royal held in Toronto. Blair is on the right in the front, Travis is holding the lamb, and Lisa is beside Travis. Blair’s Royal crew are also in the picture. Beside Lisa is Kyle Sequin, who attended Kemptville and was chair of the Dairy Heifer Sale for the Kemptville College Royal. In the back row (with the beard) is another crew member Randy Sequin who graduated from Kemptville in 1980. Both Kyle and Randy were a contribution to Blair’s success at the Royal.
From student to now a Kemptville College Alumni Board Member, we thank Blair for his contribution to agriculture.
Usually, when we spotlight grads, we focus on the present, but since November is a month of remembering, we will do just that with the Peter D. Jack family farming history.
Their story began in 1897 when four orphaned British Home Children were sent to Canada, from Scotland, as indentured servants. David, the third child, was placed on the farm of George Wilson near Pakenham, ON. When he left after his period of service, he went to Montreal, and while there, he married Pearl Lapham.
William Kenneth was the second of their six children and always wanted to farm. Kenneth served in the army in Europe in World War 2. When he returned to Canada in Feb. 1946, he married Margaret Green. They used his meager Veteran’s Benefits as a down payment on a semi-abandoned farm near Maxville, ON. They moved to the farm on July 2, 1946. Life was a struggle, so Margaret taught school to help the family survive. They stocked the farm with 10 dairy cows.
Peter David Jack was born the eldest of three children. His Dad had several health issues. Peter always worked on the farm but managed to go to KCAT, graduating in 1968. In 1973 he married Lynda MacGill, and when his dad died in 1974, Peter and Lynda took over the farm. The herd prefix is MYLYN, named for his wife, Lynda.
Charles William (Charlie) is the second of their six children. Like his grandfather and father, he always wanted to farm. Charlie graduated in 1998 from KCAT and returned to the farm after graduation. Charlie has two children from his first marriage. His second wife, Tammy, has three children, but none of the five are interested in farming.
In 2013 Lynda and Peter gave Charlie and Tammy the opportunity to farm together when they sold/gifted the farm to them. They were fortunate that Charlie’s sister Kathleen has three children, and the oldest, Brennan MacKillican, wanted to farm. Brennan graduated from Ridgetown Campus, University of Guelph, in 2021. He lives with Lynda and Peter and works on the farm full-time. The plan is for him to eventually work into a partnership on the farm with Charlie and Tammy.
The farm had a setback in 2018 when a fire took the dairy, heifer barn, and machine shed. They also lost 80 head of milk cows, silos, two robot milkers, and feed. MYLYN farm has since rebuilt and recently held an open house where many Kemptville grads had an opportunity to see the new setup. Starting with 10-grade cows and 60 acres, the Jack family now has 200 purebred Holsteins and 700 acres. They also grow corn, soybeans, and hay.
Charlie also markets hay and buys and resells farm-related articles and machinery. Brennan has a herd of 50 meat goats, and Peter still actively helps around the farm. With family cooperation, determination, and hard work, MYLYN and the Jack family will be in Maxville, ON, for generations!
Each year the Kemptville College Alumni present the Champion Intermediate Showperson with their award. This year we were proud to present Cooper Smith from Prescott County 4-H Club with her plaque and chair. Cooper then went on and won Reserve Grand Champion Dairy Showperson. The award was presented by Blair Dow, Kemptville College Board Member, to Cooper Smith.