All in the Family

Courtenay Herefords finds their own path in an ever-evolving cattle industry.

Home and Garden Gate is celebrating 20 years of business in Downtown Courtenay this year. “Shopping locally helps to create a vibrant community like Downtown Courtenay, abortion
and is one of the things that makes this such a great place to live, recipe ” says owner Jody Williams, in her Fifth Street shop.

Photo by Boomer Jerritt

Over the years there has evolved a plethora of so-called ‘Big Box’ stores in our community, and this is a merchandising reality that is showing no signs of abating.  And, understandably, the Costcos and Wal-Marts draw a great number of customers; especially in tight economic times such as ours today.

At the same time, however, there are those merchants that are more closely aligned with the local community, offering goods and services that can keep us in touch with what and who we are here in the Comox Valley.  And as Christmas approaches it is well to bear in mind the uniqueness of that which can be found by ‘shopping in all of our towns—Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland.

It’s worth the visit.

Such was the inspiration behind the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association’s creation Winterfest 2012.  It all began on November 16 with a Moonlight and Magic spectacle and will be continuing every weekend right through to Christmas Eve.  It’s designed to be a showcase of all that Courtenay’s downtown has to offer in the realms of goods, services, entertainment and fun for the entire family.

There was a time when the merchants of Downtown Courtenay presented all the best of one of the unique smaller cities on Vancouver Island. The downtown core of Fifth and Cliffe area especially invited shoppers to an experience that was more than just the mere purveying of goods.  They also offered service and relationships with their customers both longtime and new.

The point being—and sometimes contemporary shoppers are losing sight of that—they still do.  And the point of Winterfest is to remind the public of that reality.  The allure is still there, as are unique goods and services that can’t be found elsewhere.  And that is exactly what happened with the opening night of Winterfest.

Much of the point behind the venture of arts, entertainment, festivity and merchandising was a drive by the DCBIA to lure people back to a downtown core that is admittedly in need of a big boost.

Winterfest, with the full support and involvement of BIA members, is providing the lubricant to bring the public to the core of the city.

How did this all come about?

“I guess it was my idea,” says Winterfest coordinator Meaghan Cursons. “But, in reality isn’t every new idea a combination of other examples, inspirations, middle-of-the-night epiphanies, Google and trial-and-error? I was asked to figure out a way to animate and excite downtown for the Christmas season with a very modest budget and not much time to work with.  Picking a theme for each weekend was a good way to promote the diversity of products and services to be found.”

She notes that she decided to focus on the six weekends rather than continuing through each week mainly to keep the energy levels high.

“Picking a theme for each weekend (and you can follow what is taking place each weekend on Facebook) was a good way to promote the diversity of products and services downtown,” Cursons says.

The Graham’s Jewellers clock is a fixture on Fifth Street. “I firmly believe that if you shop locally at an established business everybody wins in the long run,” says Graham’s Jewellers owner Jamie Graham.

Photo by Boomer Jerritt

“There was such energy downtown,” she adds of Winterfest’s first weekend.  “I love it when our downtown feels like a real community; where pedestrians are more important than traffic. There was laughter, there was surprise, and there were dancers in Courtenay, for crying out loud. There was a nightlife—and this is what Courtenay can be.  It felt like an expression of what is possible.”

And it’s far from being over yet.

“I think the momentum will just keep building,” says Cursons.   “In particular the busking for charity has really taken off, with many Valley musicians playing downtown for donations to the charities of their respective choices. I’m especially looking forward to the three final weekends with ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ and the Elevate Craft Bazaar. Meanwhile, ‘Winter Wonderland’ on the 15th of this month will have some incredible surprises and then the 22nd of December will see lots of caroling and a real old-fashioned Christmas vibe downtown. I’m a romantic at heart and that includes Christmas. I like the music and the village feel and the food and kindness.  I really hope we are embodying that over the weeks.”

Cursons is pleased with the way it has all come off.

“A number of people emphasized it was better than they’d anticipated, and that’s high praise indeed. I look at campaigns like these being about marketing, event planning and community development. The greatest strength of this event has been the willingness of downtown merchants and the arts community to come on board and believe in the intrinsic value of a good community celebration. My job has been to encourage that joy and celebration and then wrap a big bow around it and help communicate it to the whole community.  I think that downtown Courtenay and the other downtowns of the Comox Valley are bursting to express themselves. If I can help make that happen I’m a lucky gal.”

Others feel the same way about bringing the community to life and Courtenay merchants are first and foremost in extolling the virtues of their community.

“Downtown offers you both unique products and a unique experience,” says Robert A Couture owner, Jill Paterson.  “I think more than anything it’s the service aspect that really counts. We endeavor to go the extra mile for our customers because we value our relationship with them—a relationship that has been built up over the years.  Sometimes people drop by with no intention of making a purchase; they just come in to say ‘hi’.  We like that.  We like becoming friends with our customers.”

After 42 years in the same Fifth Streer location there is no question that Graham’s Jewellers has built up both a strong reputation due to the quality of its merchandise and the service it offers, but also due to its relationship with its countless customers.

“People lose sight of the very real value of shopping locally,” says owner, Jamie Graham.  “It’s understandable, but people do tend to forget when they shop locally the money stays in the community.  That’s vital for our local economy.  So, if people go out of town to shop, or if they shop in the big boxes, money leaves.  I mean, if you shop in a big box here a certain amount stays in the form of wages, but the rest exits.”

Graham concedes that sometimes better prices might be found elsewhere, albeit rarely, but is the shopper getting the quality he or she seeks?

“We’ve seen many times how people have bought an item elsewhere, but then they come to us to get it sized or fitted, so it kind of defeats their purpose,” he says.

More importantly, however—and he believes this is the message that must go out—is that people don’t always realize how much their trade matters to the local economy, the economy of the community in which they live.

“People don’t think a lot about it, and that’s understandable,” he says.  “I also realize that the search for the cheapest price is a reflection of the world economy at the moment.  But, I firmly believe that if you shop locally at an established business everybody wins in the long run.”

Vashti Lehrle and Nena Bill, co-owners of Secret Drawers Lingerie on Fifth St. believe that the most important facet of utilizing local merchants lies in the relationships that are established – relationships that last many years, Vashti says.

“Through personalized service you establish personal connections,” Lehrle says.  “We have customers whom we’ve seen from the time they were young girls, then married women, who later move away but then always come by when they’re back in town and we’re always delighted to see them.”

Also, adds Bill, with that personalized connection you also get personalized service.  Added to which, Secret Drawers offers a high-end quality product and specialized fitting services of the sort not to be found in the larger venues.

“I’m not suggesting that the big box stores don’t attempt to satisfy their customers, because they do, but customers still don’t have that tie,” says Bill.  “Here, if you have issues with a product you will get our attention and we’ll persist with the matter until you are satisfied.”

And as Secret Drawers also offers a quality product that may indeed cost a little more, Lehrle says the advantage is that in a ‘throwaway’ society it is a simple fact that quality lasts much longer and often proves to be less expensive in the long run.

Jody Williams is the owner of Home and Garden Gate on Fifth Street in Downtown Courtenay and also a further shop in Cumberland, at 2720 Dunsmuir.

The Courtenay store has been a downtown fixture for 20 years now, and the Cumberland outlet has been around for seven.

‘Cumberland has a great downtown,” Williams says, “and we’re really happy to have opened there.  It’s a good place for walking and browsing in the shops and we’re always happy when somebody discovers us there.”

As for the advantages of shopping locally and keeping the downtown cores alive and well, Williams is straightforward:

“By supporting local businesses, you contribute to the economic health of the Comox Valley,” she says.  “Shopping locally helps to create a vibrant community like Downtown Courtenay, and is one of the things that makes this such a great place to live.”

The Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce is vitally interested in the promotion of a vibrant downtown Courtenay.  Chamber President and CEO Dianne Hawkins is unstinting in her praise for the impact of Winterfest and the active involvement of the downtown merchants in the grand opening event in November.

“The opening event was just amazing,” says Hawkins.  “It reminded me of when my mom and dad used to pack us kids up on Friday night and take us into town.  It felt so cool to be downtown on a Friday night.  It’s been ages since I’ve seen the merchants so happy.  It felt like home.”

As far as shopping locally is concerned, Hawkins, by the very nature of the Chamber mandate, could not emphasize the value of this more.

“We stress shopping locally to our membership and emphasize the point that this is not just for consumers, but that it is up to them to back the Chamber of Commerce and look to what their involvement means to the community at a broader level,” she says.  “The members must become engaged and we remind them they will only get out of it what they put into it.”

Terri Perrin, who handles marketing and communications at the Chamber, emphasizes that shopping locally should also mean looking into the sources of our products and services.

“We have to avoid being completely parochial and look only to Comox Valley owned businesses,” Perrin says.  “This could also include businesses originating elsewhere in BC, or even in Canada in general, if they are Canadian-owned.  We should support Canadian-made products and services.”

In terms of shopping locally, however, there is a certain caveat that must be entertained and reckoned with.  A local business might not be just a tried-and-true Comox Valley generated business.  Muddying the water a little bit is the franchise operation.

“Remember,” Perrin says, “franchises are often locally owned and therefore are every bit as much Comox Valley businesses as the more traditional or long-established ones, and they have to face the same marketplace challenges.”

As for the downtown and its challenges, Hawkins observes this is not a problem unique to Courtenay—you find it across North America these days.

“But, people will come out of loyalty,” she says.  “In this we all have to pull together.  Working together we have a bigger impact. Together we all win with a common good for all. We must remember it is small business that drives the BC economy and that is where the future lies.  Governments don’t create jobs; business does. And that’s why we have been so happy at the Chamber to promote Winterfest. It ties in with our new motto, which is Taking Care of Business.”

But wait, there’s more. The 12-Days of Christmas is a traditional seasonal offering and the Chamber is going to be putting a Comox Valley spin on the ditty, says Perrin.

“We rewrote The 12 Days with a Comox Valley flavor,” she says. “Our version is performed by the ‘Paisley Bandits’ (who donated their time and talent) and then was filmed in a performance at the Bridge by David Kooman of Unveiled Studios on November 30. We’re hoping the film will go viral.”

She points out that each Chamber member business has been asked for a $50 contribution toward the project and notes that some businesses have generously contributed $50 for various non-profit members.

“It’s all coming together,” Terry says, “And it’s been such fun to create it with all the verses having a local theme.”

The first verse, she says, revolves around the various locally-produced items that can be purchased, and the second focuses on charitable donations that can be made to assorted ventures that serve the public in need, such as the Salvation Army.

“This is our Merry Christmas from the Chamber,” she says.

More information can be found on the Chamber of Commerce Facebook page as well as at

While Winterfest was designed as a Courtenay phenomenon it, needless to say, has had impact on the greater community, which will benefit from the local shopping enthusiasm spillover.  We may not yet be one community in terms of governance but we certainly are a single de facto community. Consequently shopping invitations extend across a broad spectrum of options.

Comox and Cumberland too are looking to the Christmas season and are reaching out to the public with both entertainment and marketing ventures.

“All business associations are working together in the Comox Valley to encourage the public to support local businesses in their own communities as well as in the greater community,” says Kathy Penner, executive director of the Comox BIA.

While the major seasonal events in Comox took place the first weekend in December, the allure of shopping in the town will continue to attract customers right up until the day as merchants rally to accommodate the public.

“Our partnership with Filberg (Lodge and Park) worked really well last year and we had over 400 people come out to ‘play’ and we’re anticipating even more enthusiasm this year,” says Penner.  “This year Santa and his rock band Dukes of Dodge were aboard a flatbed truck, courtesy of Slegg Lumber, and kids and parents followed them down Comox Avenue and into the Mall.  Once inside the Mall there was face painting, balloon art, magic show and music by the band Rollicking Good Time. And Bobbi’s Deli served hot chocolate.”

The other event leading up to Christmas in Comox was their ‘Win a Trip to Vegas’ contest.  “This is a campaign to encourage more visitation to downtown Comox during the Christmas season,” says Penner, noting that 16 Comox businesses participated in this draw competition and participation and enthusiasm was excellent.

“The economies of all our communities are hugely influenced by the shopping habits of its citizens,” says Penner.  “In that context I have to encourage people to support Comox Valley businesses this Christmas season and year-round.  We all win that way and our money stays in the community.”

Some of the impact of shopping locally can be found in the site of the 10 Percent Shift, and it’s well-worth perusing, she says.  The site can be accessed at

Meanwhile, back in her hometown of Cumberland, Meaghan Cursons notes that Cumberland does an “awesome” campaign called Christmas in the Village, which runs to December 14.  The weekend of December 7 and 8 there is late night shopping with merchants showing off all the eclectic items to be found on the historic streets of the village, including handmade chocolates, arts and crafts, designer boots and garments and much more.

“Cumberland’s downtown is such a great place to hang out and, of course, the music and arts scene is second to none,” Cursons says.

And Cumberland does not forget those for whom Christmas isn’t always a time of great merriment.  “On December 14 we have a big community fundraiser at the Waverly for local emergency shelters,” she says.

“Musicians know better than many that the Christmas season isn’t merry for everyone.  Many folks struggle with mental health, addictions, poverty, family disconnect and insecure housing and they suffer at this time of year.  The event is called Food, Shelter, Music, and it’s all about sharing some love and kindness and generosity.”

Performing at the event will be Mary Murphy, Jilli Martini, Blaine Dunaway, Paisley Bandits, Brodie Dawson, Jack Roland and Archie Pateman, Annie Barker, Bobby Herron, Corwin Fox, Helen Austin, Pamela Tessman and Fiftieth Parallel.

For more information visit:

“Before I die, emergency
I want to breed the perfect Hereford, cialis ” says John Lewis Sr., at right, with sons Robert (left) and Johnny Lewis and one of their four herd bulls, Copper Creek Weatherby 991W, who weighs in at 2,465 pounds. “Well, I guess I just can’t die, in that case!”

Photo by Boomer Jerritt

The 200-or-so white-faced cows grazing contentedly in the back pasture at 5364 Headquarters Road don’t know it, but they—along with the 320 acres they range on and the extended human family that both cares for them and profits from them—offer a fascinating portrait of a family farm in the context of the 21st century.

These days, farmers are in the spotlight in new ways, some of which hold opportunity, others challenges.  This is an era in which people’s interest in where their food comes from has never been higher, an era when the economic and regulatory hurdles facing small farmers are more daunting than ever, environmental and food safety concerns are ever-present, and the local is inevitably entwined with the global.  For the 21st century farmer, a smartphone can be as important a tool as a pitchfork.

5364 Headquarters Road has been the home of Courtenay Herefords for 50 years.  In many ways, what you find here epitomizes the traditional archetype of the family farm.  Three generations are involved, and looking back another two generations, the family was involved with starting the first creamery in the Comox Valley and was the first to import beef cattle to the area.

As is the norm on small farms, the Lewis family does this as a labor of love, juggling farm work with off-farm jobs in order to make ends meet.  To say they work hard is a gross understatement.  Ask them why they do it and they say they love the lifestyle, love their fields and love their cows.  From many angles, Courtenay Herefords presents a timeless picture of old fashioned farming.

At the same time, it is very much a business, and for all its smallness and localness it is tied to provincial and national networks, and to international events—for instance, Courtenay Herefords currently ships cattle to Kazakhstan, a new market that emerged from the political remapping of the Eastern Bloc.  As well, it has had to weather the disastrous impact to the beef industry of the 2003 BSE outbreak, and to develop the scientific expertise to remain competitive as a breeder of purebred cattle.

It is this last ambition that lies at the heart of the Lewis family’s operation.  They sell beef, but the farm’s main purpose is breeding cows for other farms, in particular supplying breeding bulls for commercial operations, which then supply the beef industry.  They are one of the biggest—possibly the biggest—purebred Hereford breeding operation on Vancouver Island, but this doesn’t mean they can be, or would want to be, complacent.

“Before I die, I want to breed the perfect Hereford,” says John Lewis Sr., 71.  We’re sitting and talking at the roomy kitchen table in Courtenay Hereford’s farmhouse, and John’s wife Mary has just served me a piece of homemade apple pie (from the farm’s apples, of course).  John laughs and says, “Well, I guess I just can’t die, in that case!”

Courtenay Herefords is home to 200 purebred, grass-fed Hereford cattle, which range on 320 acres of local pasture.

Photo by Boomer Jerritt

It is his first son, Johnny Lewis, who has the main responsibility for the breeding program, as well as for marketing and sales.

“Back when my brother and I were kids, Dad basically said you’ve got two choices—the shovel or the pedigrees,” says Johnny, 46.  “Well, I went for the pedigrees and that’s where I still am.  My brother Robert went for the shovel and now he’s in charge of the equipment and the day-to day running of the farm with my dad; he’s out there now.”  He waves his arm toward the window and the surrounding fields.

Beef cattle are evaluated on a variety of qualities.  General health and hardiness are of course a priority.  Also essential is low birth weight to ensure easier calving.  Another important quality is feed efficiency—basically, an input-output ratio that looks at how they turn food into pounds.  The beef industry has ways to scientifically measure these sorts of things.

“We want to know numbers-wise that our cows are competitive,” says John Sr.  The evidence suggests that they most certainly are.

“We send our bulls to the BC test station, and they’ve always been in the top 10 per cent of the province,” John Sr. says.  Their cows regularly win prizes at local, national and even international Hereford shows.

The key to Courtenay Hereford’s success in breeding, says Johnny, is the purity and uniqueness of their bloodlines.

“We’ve stayed away from the mainstream.  We are what is called an outcross to every pedigree,” he says, and then explains in lay person’s terms:  “In cattle breeding, people tend to go for what does well in the shows.  But what happens is all the cattle breeds are dictated by that.

“For instance, there was this famous bull, Remital Keynote 20X, who was a big show winner.  You can’t go anywhere and not find his pedigree in the cows.  But that didn’t work for us.  These were big show animals that ate a lot of grain.  So we stayed away.  Now people can come to our farm and buy something that is not directly related to any cows they have.

“A commercial cow herd is made up mostly of crosses, which gives them something we call hybrid vigour,” Johnny adds.  “If, for instance, they breed a Hereford to an Angus, they’ll get an extra 50 pounds at the end of the year.  Well, if you have 100 cows, that means 5,000 extra pounds.  At $1.50 a pound, that makes a big difference.”

Johnny says he loves the non-stop education that goes with his job.  “I basically have had to become a geneticist.  There’s so much to learn; I’ll be at it my whole life.”

But the best-bred cow in the world won’t do well on inferior food.  This accounts for John Sr.’s other great ambition—to grow good grass, and to do so in an environmentally sound manner.

“If we have a bad grass year, we don’t have a good cattle year,” says John Sr., noting that growing nutritious grass is an ongoing battle.  The local climate, with its wet, cold winters and warm dry summers, means the land has to be supplemented with lime and manure on a constant basis.

“The first thing we need to do is build the soil.  We need to create the conditions for bacteria and worms.  Otherwise the soil will peter out,” he says.

“What we don’t want is a monoculture.  Have a look at our fields—they aren’t all smooth and all one shade of green.  There are weeds; there is variety.  We’re growing a balanced ration with a lot of different cultivars, with legumes, even dandelions.

“You’ve got to really want to do this,” says Johnny Lewis, kneeling at left, with (from left) Robert, John Sr. and Richard Lewis on the family farm. “You’ve got to really love it.”

Photo by Boomer Jerritt

“I’m proud of how we grow grass,” he adds.  “We stay away from chemicals unless absolutely necessary.”  The farm needs more cow manure than it produces, so the Lewises buy truckloads from local dairy farmers, compost it in a barn-sized manure heap that they turn with a backhoe, and spread the nutrient-rich result over the whole farm once a year.

John Sr. has always been committed to farming environmentally, and in 2008, Courtenay Herefords became one of the first farms in the Valley to create an Environmental Farm Plan under the auspices of the BC Minister of Agriculture.   The farm also entered into a 20-year agreement with the environmental organization Ducks Unlimited, aimed at protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat on the farm.  As part of this agreement, Courtenay Herefords has agreed to maintain setbacks from rivers and creeks, to fence off sensitive areas, and to use natural rather than chemical inputs.

These two programs helped Courtenay Herefords weather the challenging years after the 2003 outbreak of BSE, also known as Mad Cow Disease.

“After BSE, everything hit the skids,” says John Sr.  “It broke the industry.  The price of calves dropped from $1.20 a pound to 65 cents a pound.  Both the Environmental Farm Plan program and Ducks Unlimited offered incentives that really helped.”

The beef industry is getting back on its feet, say the Lewises, but prices still need to go up.

This is where expansion into new markets, such as Kazakhstan, is making a huge difference.  The Lewises started exporting their animals there last year and are expecting to continue this for three more years.

This profitable connection is a reminder that although we like to talk about the relationship of the farmer to their land, other relationships are also crucial.

“I’m out and about, talking to people,” Johnny says, somewhat modestly, describing what in fact is a demanding (and fun, he says) job of networking.  As part of that, Johnny is a Director of the BC Hereford Association.

“So I stay in the loop,” he explains.  Through that role he got in touch with a big exporter, who was in touch with importers in Kazakhstan.  “Now he calls me up when he wants cattle,” he says, adding that Kazakhstan represents a great opportunity.

After the Soviet Union broke up, Kazakhstan needed to create a market economy.  The country has grasslands the size of Montana and is near two huge markets—Russia and China.  And there’s a growing market within Kazakhstan, Johnny explains.

“In the past, wild horses were apparently the main source of protein.  Now the economy is better and there’s oil money there, so you’ve got a growing middle class.  So, the government is investing in building a beef industry.

“However, they’re starting almost from scratch, and they need really top notch stock, because these cows are the gene pool for the future.  So they’re importing purebred Herefords and Angus, and our Association is helping them out.”

This seemingly unlikely client has provided a much-appreciated boost not just to Courtenay Herefords—Kazakhstan is importing cattle from all over the world in order to fulfill its goal of bringing in 72,000 head of cattle in the hopes of becoming a major beef exporter by 2020.

This bovine jet-setting needs to be as safe and humane as possible.  The cows first go to Manitoba for a month of quarantine, and then for the flight to Kazakhstan they are in well-padded wooden crates and are overseen by a veterinarian.

National events and issues also influence the farm’s operations.  The E. Coli scare this summer, when Alberta meat packer XL Foods released tainted beef into the market, is a case in point.  Johnny gets frustrated when he hears people say that Canadian beef is unsafe.

“Canadian beef is safe.  Where the wheels fell off is in the packing plant—it’s so huge, like an assembly line, just like at a car factory.  Those big plants have up to 4,500 head a day going through the production line.  If there’s one nick to a bowel or bladder and that stuff gets out and contaminates a carcass, and it contaminates the equipment, it gets all over.  And that beef is sent out all over the continent with that contamination,” he says.

The silver lining of the XL Foods E. Coli outbreak is that it raised interest in local beef.  Smaller can definitely mean safer, says Johnny.

“On a farm like ours, you can come pick out your animal.  It goes to Gunter’s Meats locally, where they maybe process half a dozen animals a day.  Everything can be done at a slower pace; every step along the way can be monitored.

“Of course, to shop and eat this way [Courtenay Herefords only sells beef by the side] takes some adjustments for most people.  You’re going to get cuts of meat in your freezer you aren’t used to.  You have to know how to cook them.  But with the internet that’s easy to figure out, and it’s actually fun.”


The Lewis family is passionate about supporting—and practicing—local eating.  “In the summer, our whole family can pretty much entirely eat food sourced within a one mile radius,” says Johnny, gesturing out the window with a big sweep of his arm.

John Sr. has his own take on the topic:  “It’s security.  If the shit ever hits the fan we know we can sustain ourselves.”

In a more rational and just world, suggests Johnny, farmers would be in the same income bracket as most other hard-working professionals.

Photo by Boomer Jerritt

“You can have a million doctors and lawyers, and that’s great, but if there’s no food, we won’t survive,” he says.  He’d like to see small farms make enough money so that the farmers don’t need to also hold down other jobs.  Johnny works full time as an estimator for Nelson Roofing; his brother Robert works for Saputo and John Sr. is retired from BC Hydro after 27 years as an estimator.  When called upon, John Sr.’s brother Richard, 68, also helps out.  While not directly involved in the day-to-day farming operation, Richard, a partner in the land with his brother, operates a part-time sawmill on the property, and his welding and fabricating skills keep things running on the farm.

“You’ve got to really want to do this,” says Johnny.  “You’ve got to really love it.  We’ve questioned it, for sure, especially as Dad is getting older.”  But the questioning has, thus far, never led to a negative answer, and this farming family continues, enthusiastically and proudly, to function, to adapt, and to seek opportunity.

John Sr.’s seven grandchildren are frequent fixtures around the farm and some are very involved in the youth farm group 4H, showing cattle with the Comox Valley Calf Club.  The kids proudly show steers from their family farm, and Courtenay Herefords sponsors and helps out with the club—Johnny is one of the club’s leaders.

In an era when it appears that young people aren’t choosing to farm, Courtenay Herefords seems to be bucking the trend.  It may just be that, as they negotiate the challenges and opportunities facing a 21st century family farm, they are finding a viable path.

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