I’m Barb. Raised in the city, I became a farmer when I married into a farm family. My husband, Victor, and I raised three children while running a small dairy farm in Juniper, in western NB. With the support of family and industry representatives, we have received recognition each year for the past three decades for the excellent quality of the milk we produce.
Over the years both Victor and I have put a lot of effort into supporting community initiatives, serving on boards for our school, our library, our hospital, our woodlot owners’ organization, and belonging to our volunteer fire department, contributing our time to make this a better place to live. I believe in the value of each person’s contribution to society; each one of us can make our world a better place. Especially in rural NB we depend on volunteers to keep our lives safer and richer.
Like many farmers we are looking at retirement in the near future, but is not guaranteed. If there is to be a future for farms and for small communities in NB, we need to ensure that young people can make a good living and find the resources they need to live full and comfortable lives. As we continue to milk our cows, to care for our land, and to volunteer our time within our community, we also maintain an active membership in the NFU, because its policies continue make the most sense.
When we first joined the NFU almost a decade ago, what impressed us most was the way this organization gathered the facts and told the truth about the way things are. Our researchers examine policies and statistics, interpret them intelligently, and speak out compassionately. So often the truth is hidden behind corporate agendas, political expediency, and traditions that just don’t work anymore. When I saw the facts about farm income, the facts about the role of women in farming, and the facts about the loss of family farms in Canada, I felt empowered to try to make a difference.
For nearly ten years I have worked to ensure that farmers have a choice of general farm organizations in New Brunswick, and that one of those choices represents women and youth on the farm just as well as it represents men. By providing an alternate voice, one which speaks truth to power, the NFU in NB has made an important difference in NB over the past decade. We want to continue to provide a strong voice for the farmers in this province, in all our diversity, for decades to come.