John and Eadie Steele -
We have been primary producers of Ontario Lamb for over 20 years and we are still in the expansion mode as the demand for Ontario Lamb continues to increase. Currently we have a flock of 2300 maternal line genetics and 200 Purebred Texels producing over 4,000 lambs each year on an annual system of lambing.
Our farm consists of 1,000 acres split between cropping and pasture. Cropping land is dedicated to production of winter forages of haylage, corn sileage and dry hay. Pastures are managed under intensive rotational grazing therefore predation control is very important. Our farming operation is a combination of British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand technologies and production system adopted to suit Ontario conditions and markets.
Our innovative ideas and dedication to providing a quality breeding stock have earned us industry recognition.
2001 Peterborough County Agriculture Leadership Award
2002 Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmer
2004 Canada’s Countryside Stewardship Award
2005 OSMA Forward Contract award for Best Average index in the Over 250 lambs shipped category
2007 Peterborough County Farm Family of the Year
2008 Commercial Wool Production Award given by the Canadian Co-Operative Wool Growers
2009 Premier’s Award for Agriculture and Agri-food Innovation – for the Management of the OLIBS Breeding Stock Program
2010 Premier’s Award for Agriculture and Agri-Food Innovation – for the Creation of the Hand Held Flock Management Software
Currently, there is a huge demand not only for Ontario lamb as a meat, but for quality, uniform breeding stock to create those lambs. We are usually sold out of breeding stock a year in advance.
There’s never a dull moment around here! There always seems to be lots of challenges and numerous opportunities to use innovative and creative problem solving techniques. Basically speaking, there’s no cookie cutter approach to lamb production in Canada. Every region has it’s own challenges and opportunities. That’s why we draw on knowledge gleaned from travels in New Zealand, Australia, England and across Canada. We don’t restrict our inquisitive nature to just sheep production. We’ve also improved our operation from small details gathered from other commodities. Our philosophy to lamb production in Ontario can be summed up this way: ”It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t know that you can’t do it.” No one told us “You can’t make a living from sheep.” So earning a decent living from sheep is exactly what we’ve been doing for the past 15 years. God willing, we’ll be sheep farming for the next 15 years.