Farming is a Family Affair | #FromtheField Spotlight Series

May 21, 2014

By Amanda Brodhagen,

For the Dawson’s, farming is not only business, but a way of life. And for them, it’s the best way to raise a family. Like most Canadian farms (98%), the Dawson’s farm is family owned and operated.

Andrew and Julie Dawson fell in love while attending the University of Guelph, studying agriculture.  Following graduation, the two got married and decided to take over Julie’s parent’s farm. Both are actively engaged in their farming community, both are 4-H leaders, and both sit on several agricultural boards.

The Dawson’s approach to farming and life is team orientated. They’re active on social media and have their own Twitter accounts. Both enjoy sharing what they do with members of the agricultural community and the general public.

Get to know more about the Dawson’s by reading their #FromtheField profile:

Farm Name: RiverRun Farms

Twitter Handles: @riverrunfarms and @juliedawson97

Location: Lanark County, Ontario

Types of Crops grown: Corn, wheat, soybeans, strawberries and beef cattle

How has using Twitter enhanced your farming business?

Twitter has allowed us to feel connected with fellow farmers throughout Ontario, but also the world. It provides us with a quick snap shot of what is happening in agriculture (in real-time). We see Twitter as an important tool to be able to reach our customers and the general public to portray our farming lifestyle and our farm’s progress throughout the seasons. For example, the strawberry season is very short (usually 3 to 4 weeks), and taking advantage of social media vehicles, like Twitter, provides a simple and quick method to keep our customers informed about our daily activities in the strawberry patch.

What is an interesting fact about your farming operation?

Since starting our farm in 2004, we have primarily been cash crops and beef cattle. However, about two years ago in order to diversify our farm operation we decided to jump into a “pick your own” strawberry operation. The name of the business is Mississippi Berries, appropriately named after the river that runs beside our farm. Interestingly, we have increased our strawberry acres over the past two years, and are up to 5 acres of (June bearing) strawberries.

What makes you proud to farm?

We take pride in being able to produce food to feed a growing global population. In addition, our family farm allows our children to understand the joy and the hard work involved in producing food and caring for the environment. Farming is a lifestyle choice as work needs to be done when the sun shines (which includes holidays). Something that we enjoy is sitting down at meal time, and knowing that we have grown everything on our plates – we feel blessed to have that experience.

Additional Information: 

Both Andrew and I Julie attended, and met at the University of Guelph while completing their Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (aggie) degrees. Andrew grew up on a beef farm in Peterborough County, while Julie is proud to be the 6th generation on her family’s farm. Both are active in their community and continuously promote agriculture. They lead their local 4-H beef club, and are active members of their local cattlemen’s and soil and crop associations. They have two children, Connor and Caroline, who are often found tending to their laying hens or 4-H heifer calves.

Related articles:

Coming Back to the Family Farm | #FromtheField Spotlight Series

Big Blue Equipment | #FromtheField Spotlight Series

Husband and Wife Farm Team | #FromtheField Series

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