Moving to Stratton from southern Ontario to farm is not a decision many families would make.
But for Jamie Hackett, Deja McAdams, and their newborn son, Rhyland, it was the right one.
Hailing from near Kincardine, located along Lake Huron about two-and-a-half hours from Toronto, they moved north only a week after their baby was born.
“Our farm name is ‘JDH Stock Farms,’” said McAdams. “We breed and raised registered Purebred Morgan horses.
“Our horses are used for checking and working cattle, ranching, and so on.”
The couple has many years of farming experience between them.
McAdams said she’s been breeding, raising, breaking, training, importing, and exporting horses for more than 20 years while Hackett raised horned Hereford cattle on his family farm.
She added there are a lot of Fento Hereford bloodlines in their current herd.
“In 2014, we will be having ‘Black Baldies,’” McAdams continued, noting they will be using their registered Angus bull, “D’Jango.”
“We also breed Welsh Ponies and Cobs, used also for ranching and family pleasure,” she remarked.
“We’ve done kids’ charity auctions with our stallion station simply because it’s the right thing to do.”
McAdams also trained to be an auctioneer while Hackett went through school to be an HVAC tech.
These part-time careers give them something to do in addition to farming.
“Some friends had told us about up here, and I’m originally from Alberta,” noted McAdams.
“I always wanted to go closer to Alberta.”
This past spring, the couple came and looked at this farm, which was owned by Mike and Joanne Neilson.
“We decided to purchase the farm on our way back home,” McAdams recalled, though they waited to move until a week after their son was born in June.
“With the horses, this location is more central to the western and eastern provinces, as well as the U.S.A.,” she explained.
“It works better for us to be in an area that works better for the cattle and the horses.”
McAdams said they used to have roughly 80 head of horses but downsized over the past two years.
“Now we have around 20,” she remarked.
“We brought all the horses with us, and then we brought some young heifers with us this time,” she added.
“We still have to send for another load of the Herefords.”
McAdams noted it wasn’t hard to move—just hectic and time-consuming.
“The majority of the horses and cattle went on a semi, and then we hauled in our stock trailer the stallions,” she explained.
“Ideally, we have to go where it’s going to benefit the animals better, and there’s more crop land up here,” McAdams said.
“Business-wise, it was smarter to move up here.”
Other than wood ticks and other bugs which they did not encounter down south, the family has enjoyed their first few months here.
“We are only partially moved in right now as we still have cattle back south which will likely come out next spring,” said McAdams.
“It’s peaceful and quiet, which I like,” she added. “It’s more scenic than southwestern Ontario.
“The people here are very friendly and welcoming.”
The family currently owns 310 acres, but is hoping to expand their land and cattle over the next few years.
In addition, they’re planning to concentrate on their Morgan and Welsh ranching program.
For now, though, they were hoping to get enough work done so they could bring their baby to his first Emo Fair—an event people had been encouraging them to take in.
McAdams said fairs down south are not supported by the townships like the one is here, and that it is positive to see how much pride people take in the Emo Fair.
“I was told that if you like your job, then it’s not like a job,” added McAdams, noting that’s how they feel about farming.