By Joan Janzen
Joleen Shea grew up on the same farm, which she now operates full-time, along with the help of her father, Ron Shea. She said while growing up on the farm “I’d be the one helping Dad.”
She was also involved in 4H and eventually earned a diploma in Animal Science at Lakeland College. After completing her education she worked in the grain industry for a number of years but said, “Anytime I took a holiday, it was to come back and work at the farm. I always had a foot in the door.”
Now Joleen has been on the farm full-time for almost a year, and her dad is still heavily involved in the farming operation. “Dad’s still out every day. We start calving the beginning of April. In the next couple of weeks we’ll make sure everything is ready to go, then it’s all hands on deck until the end of May.”
Sheady Farms has a herd of 250 commercial cows and they breed Black Angus and Black Simmental. The operation also includes some crop production to provide feed for the stock.
It didn’t take long before Joleen was elected as the new Director for District 7 of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA) in October of 2020. As part of the SCA, she recently participated in a Beef and Forage Forum, which is open to any producers to give their feedback to the researchers. “It’s interesting topics, that’s for sure. There’s lot of new stuff in the industry,” Joleen said.
“There’s a lot of learning on the job,” she admits. And the weather and market conditions are always a challenge. “There’s a lot of stuff that’s out of your control. Some years there are bigger challenges than others, but you control what you can and hope it turns out for the best.”
The year 2020 presented a challenge that turned out for the best. Joleen explained, “We sell quarters and halves of beef; it’s another revenue stream for the farm. But during the pandemic we noticed an increase of beef being purchased from the farm. We sold out faster than we ever have; it was a nice surprise. Now we’re expanding and doubling what we’ve done in the past because the interest is there.”
Soon it will be all hands on deck at the Sheady Farm, as calving will start the beginning of April, and as usual Joleen prepares for it and hopes everything turns out for the best.
Joleen enjoys life on the farm, being outdoors and working with the animals. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she says.
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