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Payne family history in cattle continues

LLOYDMINSTER, Sask. — Jaxon Payne is 15 and already knows where his future lies.

“I’m staying here,” he says, meaning the family farm, Greenwood Limousin.

His parents, Jackie and Scott, aren’t surprised. Their older son Jayden, 18, who was at cattle shows in Australia at the time of a recent visit to the farm, is also staying in the family business.

That makes these descendants of 1903 Barr colonists the fifth generation on the farm northeast of Lloyd-minster.

“Grandpa was a bricklayer,” said Jackie. “He walked to town every day and helped build the town.”

He also established a farming legacy that has endured to include siblings and cousins. The Payne name is well known in livestock circles, especially on the show circuit.

“That’s what we do,” Jackie said.

“It’s our No. 1 priority. Other people are at the lake in the summer and we’ve got cattle tied up.”

Last year was a particularly good one. Banners lined the Greenwood stalls at Canadian Western Agribition and the entire family was pressed into service during the RBC Beef Supreme Challenge, which pits winners from 16 North American livestock shows against each other.

Greenwood Young and Restless, which was the Limousin grand champion female at Agribition, the Lloydminster Stockade Roundup and Farmfair International, finished in the top 10 along with her calf Bomb Shell. The cow went on to be the breed’s show female of the year.

Greenwood PLD Zeppelin entered the challenge as the reserve grand champion bull at Agribition, behind a Payne Livestock entry from Scott’s brother and family who live across the road.

Greenwood is named after the country school that once served the area, and was established in 1978 after Scott’s father, Bern, experimented by crossing 50 Angus cows with Simmental, Angus and Limousin bulls. The purebred Limousin operation evolved from that.

Scott and Jackie, who grew up in Lashburn, Sask., were teenage rivals from different 4-H clubs who met in the show ring.

4-H has continued to play an important role in their lives. Jaxon and Jayden are members of the Northminster 4-H Beef Club and participate in jackpots and shows in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and Jackie is the club leader.

Both boys clearly inherited their parents’ love of cattle and show ring.

“We’re pretty competitive,” Jackie said. “We’ve done a good job of managing our show cattle. It’s not just your farm, but it’s also your breed. We want to represent our breeds as best we can.”

The fifth generation has its own ideas about breeds. The boys have 20 Angus cows and heifers that they began showing last year. They also earned Angus show female of the year honours last year with a cow-calf pair.

“It couldn’t have been a better year,” said Jackie.

“Other than winning the truck,” added Jaxon, referring to a Farmfair prize.

Jaxon was the catalyst behind the Angus venture when, as a 10-year-old at Farmfair, he snuck off to the Angus auction and began bidding on a heifer.

“Mom and Dad caught me and they cut me off,” he said.

However, the consignor, Miller Wilson, was so taken with his interest that he was given free embryos from the show cow of the year.

The 120 Limousin cows, the Angus additions and several club calves for sale keep the family busy.

They also grow canola, wheat, barley and oats for cash and feed and do some swath grazing.

Calving starts Jan. 1 in a barn at home.

“We artificially breed everything so we have dates on everything,” Jackie said. “We’re able to manage our time and barn space.”

Most of their sales are private, directly off the farm to repeat customers in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“We’ve also shipped embryos and semen to Australia,” Jaxon said.

Jackie has always worked off the farm and is currently at Northern Blizzard Resources. Scott is full-time on the farm, and now that their two sons are planning to build their futures there, the family has decisions to make.

Scott said he is starting to think about more time off, especially in late winter when they can get away somewhere warm.

“We need to start thinking about (transition) seriously,” said Jackie.

Land in the area is unaffordable for young farmers just starting out, and the family has to figure out how to incorporate two more people.

Scott’s brothers and their families and their parents all help each other, although each operation is owned separately. As well, they are in the enviable position of having a younger generation that wants to stay in the business.

How the transition plays out re-mains to be seen, but it seems likely the names Greenwood and Payne will be around a while yet.

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