Creekside Dairy is a certified organic, SPCA certified dairy farm in Agassiz. Julaine and Johannes Treur come from generations of dairy farmers. Johannes, who has been farming for the last 17 years, is a 6th generation dairy farmer, tracing his roots back to the mid-1800s in the Netherlands. Julaine’s maternal grandparents were also dairy farmers. The pair bought Creekside Dairy in 2011 and have been growing their farm and their family since.
At Creekside Dairy, they milk around 120 Brown Swiss Cows. With all of the younger animals and breeding stock, they have around 230 animals on their farm. Julaine is passionate about farming and the environment. “Our farm is certified organic and we do whatever we can to minimize our impact on the environment and do our best to improve the land,” says Treur. They farm mostly perennial crops including various grasses mixed with alfalfa and red clover, which “allows soil life to grow and flourish by not disturbing the layers of organic matter that build up over time,” says Treur. She notes, “If we do plant an annual crop such as sorghum-sudangrass or corn, we plant a cover crop to stop erosion and add organic matter to the soil.”
They encourage on-farm biodiversity by maintaining natural habitats alongside their land and allow native grass and herb species to grow in their fields. They manage their herd in a climate-friendly way and do not use chemical fertilizers or herbicides and pesticides. Treur explains, “We graze our herd throughout the growing season which reduces the amount of manure we need to store and spread, as well as eliminating the need to harvest that grass with machinery.” She emphasizes that grazing animals play a huge part in sequestering carbon on perennial grass pastures. Treur says, “They fertilize the soil which eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers produced with fossil fuels.” They graze their animals from April to October utilizing the mob grazing technique, which Treur says, “involves giving our herd a smallish section of grass for one-two days before moving them to an entirely new section. The goal is for the animals to eat 50% of the standing grass, trample 25% (adds organic matter to the soil) and leave 25%.” Through managed grazing, Treur says they have fields that have been in grass for 10 years that are still lush and productive.
When we asked the Treurs why it is so important for consumers to support local, climate-friendly farmers, they respond, “The decisions we make now to either build up our soils or deplete them will impact future generations of farmers AND consumers. Local food is the most climate-friendly, but in order to continue being able to produce food for our local consumers, we need to ensure that we keep our soils healthy and productive. Mono cropping and excessive use of chemicals will deplete our soils, making it much harder to grow food for humans and/or animals. Supporting climate-friendly farmers helps to ensure a plentiful supply of locally grown, sustainably produced foods for both now and future generations.” Creekside Dairy has a retail store in construction that will allow them to make several styles of cheese including, swiss-style washed rind cheeses, gouda, flavoured cheeses, and curds. Look out for “Creekside Cheese and Creamery come Spring 2021.