Page 10 - BCHNews-Spring2021-Web
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in Dairy
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Kate Ayers, B.Sc., University of Guelph
Daughter Sheri Kampman says, “Summershade Farms Ltd. would never
be where it is today without my Mom. Even though she works so hard, she is eager to share hiking pictures and always has a cup of coffee and cookies ready for any salesman, feed rep or hoof trimmer.”
“Farming is a great way of life to raise your family.” Jenny Van Reeuwyk
Lower Left photo:
Jenny still enjoys her daily responsibilities pushing up feed, helping move heifers, herd health and more. Some farmers never retire.
Lower Right photo:
Jenny and Bill on an epic farm/tourist holiday to NZ, meeting up with Sheri on her IAEA dairy farm program in 1997.
When it comes to Agriculture, we get it.
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  Jenny Van Reeuwyk
The Heart of a Giver. The Hands of a Farmer.
    The Wall of Family Photos testifies to Jenny’s life priority.
 A gentle and soft-spoken voice greeted my phone call, and I quickly abandoned my prepared questions as Jenny Van Reeuwyk methodically and thoughtfully told me all about her family and how proud she is of her four adult children. Jenny’s whole-hearted passion and love of farming and animal welfare shone through as we chatted like long-time friends.
Jenny grew up on her family’s dairy operation on Wellsline Road in Sumas Prairie and knew from a young age that ag was the place for her!
“As a kid, I always loved farming,” Jenny says. She, along with her two brothers Stan and Theo Hoekstra, each had their own lawn-farms, divided into parcels by a sidewalk and curb that ran along the side of the driveway. “We would visit each other’s farms on tractors,” she recalls nostalgically.
Jenny’s parents, Jack and Agnes Hoekstra, fuelled her love for farming by providing opportunities to take on more farm responsibilities when she was a pre-teen.
“On my twelfth birthday, I told my Dad that I wanted to milk cows,” Jenny says. From there, she took on many jobs, including field work.
In 1970, six months after graduating high school, Jenny milked cows in the morning, before heading to her day job at Modern Dairy Equipment as a secretary and bookkeeper.
“At the time, our company sold the cheapest neck chains for cattle and that is how I met Bill,” Jenny remembers.
Bill’s father owned a farm and was a baker along with six of his sons. They had no interest in farming but working on the farm was Bill’s passion. He always wanted to be outside with the cows. At six-years-old, Bill already milked cows by hand before heading off to school and when he got home. When he turned 12, he started to ship milk from a dozen cows.
“He wanted to be a farmer some day and he turned that dream into a reality,” Jenny reveals. Indeed, Bill began farming full
time when he was 15-years old.
“When we met in 1973, Bill milked 50 cows,” Jenny says.
In December that year, Jenny and Bill were married and bought the cows and quota from Bill’s father. The couple rented a farm on Townshipline Road.
Their first child Len was born in May 1975 andayearlater,JennyandBillboughttheir first property on Page Road, which is the original milking farm that the family still operates today.
Good Days and Bad Days
The year 1977 was one of heartbreak and joyful new beginnings.
“On the evening of May 3, we lost almost everything to a fire. The fire truck sirens woke us up and by the time we were outside, the whole top of the barn was already on fire. The only thing left was the milk house,” Jenny describes with unfaded clarity. At this time, she was also due with her second child.

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