Meet our Grower: The Claeys Family
"Farming is in our blood," says Jason Claeys, a fourth-generation grower working 4,000 acres in the southwest corner of Manitoba.
Indeed, his family farm has been a local institution for almost 100 years. Founded in 1923 by his great-great grandparents Richard and Emma, every subsequent generation has played a central role at the farm, helping build a valuable legacy for the family.
Coming back home
For Jason, the road to farming included a brief detour. Growing up on the family farm in a house his parents built the year he was born, Jason was eager to experience city life. Attending university to focus on finance or accounting, he soon discovered the corporate track and a suit and tie certainly wasn’t for him. “I thought about how I wanted to live, where I wanted to live,” says Jason. “And I couldn’t wait to get back!”. So he went home and never looked back.
Jason and Krista enjoy growing specialty canola because they know they’re producing a useful product that people need. When they walk past the canola oil in the grocery store Krista often thinks, “One or two of our seeds might be in there!” Harvest time is one of their favorite parts of the year, bringing them a sense of satisfaction knowing they’ve grown something that will help feed the world.
Sustainability and the future
Sustainability considerations are front and center for Jason as he maintains practices that will position his farm for a strong future. He’s been mapping yields for over 10 years and embracing the technologies that support sustainable practices, like GPS and auto-steering.
From where he stands now, life is good for Jason Claeys. Business is good and working the farm lets him spend plenty of time with the people he loves. Teaching his own daughters the work his father taught him, it’s not unusual to see his children pitching in.
Jason has a deep appreciation for the decades of work his family has put into the farm before he came on board, and feels that foundation has made the Claeys farm what it is today. “My grandfather developed practices that were productive and profitable, yet proper for the long-term growth of the farm,” he says. “If he hadn’t, I wouldn’t be in business today.”