Growing up on a beef farm in Lambton County, Sally Smith-Pelleboer has always had a passion for agriculture and caring for animals. She, her husband Gerrit, and their three children operate a dairy farm in Oxford County, and Sally, under her own enterprise, raises beef cows and calves.
In addition to farming and raising her three children, Sally is active in her farming community as the Secretary of the Oxford Cattlemen’s Association and a Pioneer Seed Sales Representative.
Like all beef farmers, Sally is passionate about raising beef cattle in an environmentally sustainable way. "What some don’t realize is that cattle production contributes to a healthy environment. Pasturelands, where cattle are raised, actually remove greenhouse gases from the air and stores them in the soil," explains Sally. "It's also important to realize that not all farmland in Ontario is suitable for growing crops. On our beef farm for example, some of the land is very hilly, which is much more suitable for grazing beef cattle. Well managed pasture and forage lands support wildlife habitat, biodiversity and carbon sequestration."
Across the country, many more women are becoming active partners in their family farm operations.
"I grew up on a farm with three sisters, and we were encouraged to follow our dreams in life, with no limitations based on gender," says Sally. "As a female farmer, I find that my husband and I work well together as a team. We both bring different skills and strengths to farming, but are equally important, and should be appreciated in the same way."