By Andrew Campbell
Ninety-eight percent of Canadian farms continue to be family owned and operated, but if you are looking for the definition of a family farm, just look to Scott Snyder and his family.
Scott is a sixth generation farmer in Waterloo Region, working with his father, grandfather and uncle doing everything from producing eggs and grains to feeding beef cattle and boiling maple sap for syrup. “Idle hands isn’t something my family believes in,” says Scott.
Like a lot of Ontario farm kids, Snyder enjoyed growing up in an environment where he learned from his family to care for the cattle and chickens or help drive a tractor that was being used to plant a crop. “Growing up with it, being surrounded by it, meant I could appreciate it,” as Snyder thinks back to his childhood. “I had friends who didn’t grow up on a farm, but always wanted to come out to help. That helped me realize how lucky I was to grow up the way I did.”
That was part of the reason that Snyder attended the University of Guelph, graduating with a degree in agriculture and an interest in a career in farming. But he says it wasn’t the only reason.
“Things like the lifestyle in the country, combined with being my own boss and the freedom that goes with that make farming a very rewarding career.” In fact, Snyder is so proud of what he does that he wants to share the stories of his work on the farm.
Snyder’s one of a group of 10 young Ontario farmers sharing day to day experiences from their farms through the newly created Dinner Starts Here on-line initiative (www.dinnerstartshere.ca)
“Talking about what we do on the farm is important. People’s interest in their food and how it is produced is great to see, but unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation and harsh criticism about practices that are beneficial. I hope that by blogging and using other social media tools, I can help to answer some questions and give people important information,” he says.
Talking about life of the farm isn’t new for Snyder. Going back to his days in elementary school, he remembers when his parents helping to show kids where their food comes from. “One of our first class trips was to my house. Our class got to see the egg part of our farm and learn how chickens are cared for and how eggs are handled.” The students must have like it, because it wasn’t long before another class took the trip to the Snyder family farm – this time to check out the maple syrup business, and how sap is collected and boiled.
The future on the farm is a bright one for this farm enthusiast. Between the family’s beef, egg, syrup and grain divisions, he certainly won’t have much idle time and will have a lot to talk about.
“Dad and I are going to have to have the conversation about how I fit into the business, but I see it similar to the past three generations. That being that we all manage and own various pieces but all work together to collectively move our farm forward.”
You can follow Scott Snyder on twitter @TDSsnydes