A proud day for Jill and Doug Robinson of Payneside Farms. Their family farm received the Century recognition from the Junior Farmers of Ontario. From left to right is Doug, Dougie, Bobby, and Jill Robinson. Jill stated that once she could provide the background information showing when the ownership of the property came to the family, the remainder of the process for this recognition was fairly easy. Vogel photo
AVONMORE–On Oct. 14, 1920, J.J. MacKenzie and his wife Vern purchased Payneside Farms located on what is now County Road 43 in North Stormont between Avonmore and Finch. Just over 100 years later, on Oct. 23, SDSG MP Eric Duncan, SDSG MPP Jim McDonell and North Stormont Mayor Jim Wert joined Jill and Doug Robinson, their sons Dougie and Bobby, at the farm to congratulate this family-run agricultural business on its centennial.
Doug Robinson explained the MacKenzie family, including son Ralph “were successful farmers and had a love for their cattle and community supporting local fairs, especially Stormont County Fair.” Jill continued that Payneside Farms has exhibited “at the Stormont County Fair for 98 consecutive years
When Doug was around three years of age, his grandmother Isabell married Ralph MacKenzie, with Doug commenting in a social media post “this is how you could say I got hooked on farming.” Ralph had attended college, “sold local dairy’s, then in the late 50s, early 60s, he worked for Brampton Jerseys to run their dairy department.” After Ralph returned home in 1965 “he purchased Payneside Farms from his parents,” with Doug “showing cows with Ralph at the fairs and travelled many back roads with him buying cattle.” Ralph also “sat on the committee to purchase bulls for artificial insemination, with purchases including Brightspot, Title, Jody and his favourite Beauty Doris Masters.”
After completing high school, Doug moved permanently to Payneside Farms beginning his career as a full-time farmer. After a devastating barn fire in September 1994, Doug purchased the farm from Ralph and continues to farm at Payneside Farms with wife Jill and sons Dougie and Bobby.
Jill commented in an email to The Chesterville Record how they “have always worked on the land as a family, even when the boys were little just bringing toy tractors to the field with them.” She mentioned how the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted with the boys being able to be “a major part of cleaning up the land, preparing for seeding and then helping with the harvest” before noting how “It is very rewarding to work alongside your family.”
Payneside Farms has provided support to many local cattle shows, as well as having bred “class winners at many National Shows throughout Canada and the United States.” The farm currently “owns the #2 type bull in Canada and “have owned the former #1 type bull in this country.”
Commenting on the changes over the past hundred years on the farm, Doug mentioned the evolution from “hand/bucket milking to pipeline and now to Robotic milking. Jill mentioned how “when Doug purchased the farm from his grandparents there was 150 acres workable.” She continued how they have “re-tiled and drained it all, cleared 25 acres of bush which has become very productive land and have bought another 175 acres of land.” In 2016, a “retrofit to the dairy barn” added on another 160 feet with a change from tie stall to free stall barn and equipped with two milking robots.
Commenting how “soil sampling every year has been beneficial” in determining what nutrients are needed with Doug mentioning how “Ralph and good friend Roy Simmons were the first to introduce spreading lime on their fields” which assists in increasing soil productivity.
Payneside Farms’ owners have had a history of volunteering and contributing to the agricultural community. Jill explained that J.J. had served as a past president of the Stormont County Agricultural Society and Ralph serving as councillor, reeve and warden, president of Finch Lions Club, past president of Jersey Canada, Roxborough Agricultural Society and secretary of the local Masonic Lodge as well as being a 4-H member and leader.
The Robinson family are very involved in 4-H as both Jill and Doug were 4-H members and currently are leaders/volunteers for this organization with their sons Dougie and Bobby both members of Stormont County 4-H.
“[We] feel the 4-H program played an important role in our lives and want the same experience for our boys and other kids. We supply between six to 10 calves a year for members to compete, their dairy project and can often be seen at local fairs assisting in cattle competitions.”
When asked about the future, Jill responded by saying “The future looks bright at Payneside. The kids live and breathe farming, working both on and off the farm for other farmers. They enjoy doing some custom work throughout the hay season.” Doug took a moment to “thank everyone who has helped out Payneside Farms over these past 100 years, whether it be labour, custom work, calf training, local ag business, we deeply appreciate your support.”