Sneezy going through Canadian farmland

Maybe I was asking for trouble when I took my Matthew Williamson handbag with me on a trip to a goat farm.

Maybe it was my own fault for getting so close to try and take a photo.

Anyway, lesson of today, in case you didn’t know dear readers, is that goats have a powerful sneeze. I s’pose wiping goat snot from a pricey piece of leather – as well as my legs – is another of those ‘Nuffield Experiences’MJWN).

My experience with the runny-nosed ruminant came about during a whistle-stop tour of farms around the Guelph area. Thanks to my trusty guide and Nuffield chum, Karen, I visited three farmers who all had very different enterprises.

There was Paul and his grain storage and farm supplies business:

Paul Sharp

Brent and his turkeys and sheepsies:

sheeps
And finally, ex-pig farmer Greg with his goats and lambs:

Greg and titchy billy
It’s apparently an unusual thing for me to have seen two farmers who produce sheep in Canada. The country only produces enough lamb to meet 40% of demand – the rest is imported from New Zealand and can only be bought frozen from the supermarket.

In the past, demand for sheep and goat meat hasn’t been very strong, which is why few producers have bothered with it. But these two forward-thinking chaps are hoping to take advantage of a growing demand from Canada’s rapidly-expanding ethnic and immigrant markets. It looks like it could be a profitable move too – Greg can get $212 (£134) for a 115lb lamb, a figure he could only dream of when he was a pig farmer (he switched to sheep and goats earlier in the year after the industry was on the brink of collapse because of low prices and high input costs).

On the way home we drove through some of the province’s Mennonite farmland, which was pretty interesting. Similar to the Amish community I visited earlier in the year in Pennsylvania, the majority shun electricity, cars and so on. Like the Amish community though, some made exceptions – the Mennonite farmer combining Karen’s dad’s wheat was driving a rather lovely, shiny New Holland.

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