In 2000, the Kornelius family purchased a dairy farm near Osler, Saskatchewan but kept the name “Elkrest Farms” from their former home at the base of Elk Mountain in Chilliwack, BC. In the 15 years since the move to Saskatchewan, brothers Jason, Brad and Trevor bought out their fourth brother as well as their parents and have grown their dairy farm from 160 milking cows to 675. Jason Kornelius explained how they manage their farm and how what they do helps the local economy.
“We employ about 20 people who live in the area on a full-time or part-time basis. We also grow corn, barley and alfalfa for silage to feed our cows, but hire others to seed our crops and harvest them, so we can focus on the dairy and what we’re good at.”
The Kornelius brothers’ involvement in the community also includes doing tours for consumers and agriculture students.
“We want to show people where their food comes from, as well as all the safety protocols that are in place to ensure that we produce quality, nutritious milk,” emphasizes Jason. “Every load of milk we ship gets tested, and we have a very safe method of keeping antibiotics out of milk. We also have specialized dairy nutritionists who develop balanced feeding programs for the cows, depending on whether the animals are ready to calve, milking or dry.”
At Elkrest Farms, the barns are carefully controlled with the latest technology. There are computers to track milking, feeding and ventilation, as well automatic sorting gates to separate out sick cows or cows that are ready for breeding. Their milking parlour is also state-of-the-art.
Jason expressed interest in ensuring the farm will stay in the family.
“We would like our kids to take over, and between the three of us, there are eight children. Hopefully one or more of them will stay involved. It’s a great family-oriented lifestyle and offers opportunities like working with your kids that you can’t do at most workplaces. It’s also very satisfying knowing that you’re producing food for others and doing a good job.”
So what’s Jason’s favourite food?
“Cheese,” he explained, “which, of course, is produced from milk.”