The Soesbergen family has been farming in Quebec since 1962, and over time its members have become quasi-experts at successfully transferring their passion for farming and their farm, generation to generation.
Brothers William and John Soesbergen took over the farm from their parents, Peter and Johanna Soesbergen, and now they, along with William’s son Chris and John’s children Nick and Jenna, are semi-finalists in the farm transfer category of an annual contest held by the Sollio Groupe Coopératif (the agricultural cooperative formerly called La Coop fédérée). The Soesbergens’ third-generation farm consists of 100 dairy cows and 650 acres of land.
Chris and Nick are both graduates of the farm management and technology program at McGill University’s Macdonald College, and Jenna has a bachelor’s degree from McGill in agricultural sciences and is a member of l’Ordre des Agronomes du Quebec.
While working with family can be challenging, what was most important for the Soesbergens was to find a way to transfer the farm that ensured that anyone who wanted to be part of it could. This was achieved with the help and guidance of many professionals, and by keeping communication open, explained Jenna.
The short-term plans for the farm include continuing to upgrade, maintain and improve the buildings and way of functioning. “We’re always trying to do better with what we have,” said Jenna.
Ultimately, though, regardless of the outcome of the contest, which will be announced on Feb. 25, their biggest achievement is working together successfully everyday, she clarified. “We’re honestly just really proud of how far we have come, and that we are able to have five people working together on our farm. We’re very proud, no matter the result.”