Julia James of Norwich, Ontario has the wisdom of a seasoned business analyst, the heart of a philosopher and the adrenaline of a long distance runner. However the secret of success for this one-of-a-kind dairy dynamo is the well-honed focus that allows her to live the lifelong dream of owning a dairy farm every single day. She is not yet 30!
Growing by Leaps and Bovines
Julia has numerous examples of how long she has held the dream of owning a dairy farm. What makes her one-of-a-kind is that she apparently never put that dream on the back burner for any of the commonly accepted reasons. “I started milking cows on August 1st, 2008 in a rented facility just outside of Woodstock.” This is a mere two years after graduating with a B. Sc. Agr. (Animal Science) from the University of Guelph. She outlines the process. “I purchased my beginning quota from my parents who reside in Lanark County (Eastern Ontario). Since my start date and through buying quota as often as cash-flow allowed I have been able to grow my total quota holdings by 24% in 5 years.”
The Dream is Real. Today.
Obviously, Julia is not waiting for a better time, a different time or any time that means waiting or holding to the status quo. She describes her setup. “Currently I milk 29 cows in a 3 row free stall, slated floor rented barn. The herd is a mixed herd of Jersey and Holstein. I raise all of my own replacements for a total of 78 head currently. Where the cows are currently milked is a rented facility. Where I reside is a 54-acre farm that I purchased last year in hopes that someday a dairy facility would be built there.” Her use of “currently” reflects her acceptance of and push toward continuous change.
FUELING THE DREAM: Education. Collection. Selection.
There’s an old saying that people often miss opportunities because they come disguised as work. It’s unlikely that Julia James will ever miss an opportunity. She works everything in. “When I first graduated I worked as an AI technician for ABS Global for 2 years. Then started milking in 2008, once settled into my routine of farming I was hired by Select Sires Canada in June of 2009 where I currently work today as a reproductive specialist.” The key word for Julia is that she is working.
Many would consider her grueling schedule as a deterrent to success, but Julia, as expected, has a different viewpoint. “Being a driven, independent person I don’t see many things as challenges but rather learning opportunities. There are days when it is challenging getting through your to-do list, but by putting one foot in front of the other I always manage to get there. I also have great students who help out during the week with some chores.” She loves the support of agricultural community, family and friends. “Over the past 5 years, there are definitely more people cheering me on than standing in my way or providing negative energy.” Julia is also a cheer-leader of her favorite pastimes (soccer, curling, cycling), community groups (church and milk committee) family and friends, especially Thomas. “When you’re doing what you love,” says this dynamo “there’s a time and place for everything … including dehorning and cleaning calf pens.”
Julia James on a Mission Statement
Businesses are encouraged to be able to briefly express their goals. For Julia the word mission could be replaced by the word passion. She says,” I am driven by passion. My heart, my passion and my dreams are rooted in the dairy industry. I am very happy and fortunate to be doing what I love and receive great satisfaction from contributing to the economy everyday as a primary producer of a safe and quality product.” That could be a motivational posting in every dairy barn.
Don’t Keep Your Dreams on the Shelf
Julia’s dreams are being achieved because she has an eye for those to follow and emphasizes that “My parents and family have always been supporting me and cheering me on, even in times when they may not agree with some of the decisions I make. “ She encourages others. “Anyone who takes responsibility for who they are and what they believe in and works hard and smart to make themselves happy all while being a productive member of society is a salt-of-the-earth hero to me. For Julia fear of the future is not an option. “People are afraid to take risks and chance their dreams in fear of failure or lack of self-confidence. You never know until you try and you have to chase your dreams. With proper research, networking and planning you will get there. But you never know unless you try and you must remain positive.” This dairy entrepreneur has teaching and mentoring talents in her resume too.
Appreciate the Gift of Every Day
Julia thrives on learning and modestly claims she has much to look forward to. “My greatest accomplishment is still a work in progress. Every day I celebrate little achievements. Whether it is a new baby heifer calf alive and well running around in its pen or watching all of my cows lie-down chewing their cud an hour and a half after milking. It could be a satisfied customer, or being in bed by 9:00 with the to-do list empty and all animals healthy and resting, preparing to start a new day. These are all accomplishments to me.” It sounds like she has achieved the perfect idyll already but she sees great things ahead. “My work in progress is to be able to farm one day with the one I love, raising a family on the farm, and running a very successful, sustainable dairy farm with my best friend, fellow team-mate and husband. Thomas and I are well on our way there taking on the challenges as they come and making them into opportunity.”
Ready for a Sustainable Future
Julia’s special talent is having her hands taking care of the “now”, while her eye is targeting the “future” with realistic assessments. She has considered the challenges ahead. “The biggest change I see coming is sustainability. Many aspects of the industry achieve this on some level already probably more so than many others. Taking responsibility for what we do and making sure our passion for what we do is evident will be critical in growing our markets and further establishing the trust of our consumers.” She rallies her dairy peers to provide a foundation for the next generation to build on.
Flying High Between Chores
It isn’t surprising to hear that Julia would like to take speed lessons and learn to fly in an hour. “If I could learn to fly in an hour, I would do it in a heartbeat. There is so much to see in the world and so much to learn outside your own back-yard. Being able to fly would allow me to experience these wonders all between chores.”
Choose it. Do it. Achieve it.
Even when she fantasizes about having her head in the clouds, Julia’s feet are firmly planted on the ground. “Take time to smell the roses (even if they are growing in the manure pile). Never stop dreaming, believing, achieving and ALWAYS have fun!! Her dream of her ultimate dairy farm is powered by the Julia’s amazing ability to live the dream every day.
The Bullvine Bottom Line
Some people dream of a life they hope to have some time. Julia has a three word answer to anything and everything that may be holding you back, “Do it now!”