2022 Farley, Matthew and Zoë Gould – Consort, Alberta

OYF Alberta is excited to present for the first time ever, a group of three nominees! Siblings Farley, Matthew and Zoë Gould operate Gould Ranching near Consort, Alberta.

The Gould siblings have always been dedicated to learning methods of sustainable agriculture. Their goal from the very beginning has been, and still is, “to find balance between animals, cash crops, crop rotations, environment, and long term sustainability” – Matthew Gould. Together they run 115 heads of breeding bison, 7 bison bulls, approximately 70 bison calves, 35 bison yearlings, 1178 breeding cows (140 bred heifers), 58 bulls, 1070 calves, and operate 28,340 acres of land.

Matthew Gould attended the University of Alberta’s Environmental Engineering program. He worked for John Deere for many years, however he knew that his heart belonged to the family farm, and in late summer of 2011 Matthew moved home, where he has built a family with wife Lacey Gould (formerly Ryan) and their three beautiful daughters.

Farley Gould also attended the University of Alberta, achieving a degree in Sustainable Agriculture. After university Farley worked at Cargill, managing a year round agronomy service, and later returned to the farm full time in 2014. Farley and Lisa Jackson married later that year and have three beautiful children.

Zoe attended WCVM and graduated with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2019. After graduating from veterinary school Zoë moved home to the farm and started working at Oyen Veterinary Services, and currently divides her time up between the clinic and the farm. In April 2019, Zoë and her sister Bronwen completed the Marathon des Sables, a six-day, 251 km ultramarathon in the Sahara desert of Morocco, regarded as the toughest foot race on earth!

A little bit of history….

In 1919-1920, Charles Gould moved his family across the country from Stewiacke, Nova Scotia to a home quarter of land near Consort, Alberta.

From A Land Reclaimed, by Jack Gorman

(In the 1930’s) “At the very worst of the exodus, we had a sports day in Consort and Matt Gould and his family from south of town entered the family wagon in the parade. On the side was a big sign painted on a board: We’re Staying. It was a powerful message,”

Kroeger remembers .”At a time of the deepest despair these people and many more like them decided to stay and formed a nucleus …“

In 1942, Matt enlisted and served overseas until the end of the war. His wife, sisters and brother-in-law helped Matt’s parents with all aspects of the farm work. While in the army, Matt took every opportunity to learn: tank training which taught him about diesel motors (he thought there would soon be diesel tractors), mechanics, and bookkeeping. The latter was a course offered while he was waiting to be shipped home post war.

Matt farmed with his father, and expanded their land base. Around 1946 his brother Ken joined them. They formed Gould Farms Ltd and continued their expansion. They built one of the first chutes in this area for processing cattle. Our father, Charles, farmed with them. When two of Ken’s sons came home to farm, the farm was amicably split.

Charles and Nora were married in 1986 and had 4 children. Nora (a veterinarian) worked briefly at the clinic in town after the children were born. She also went back to work to aid in the transition to new ownership at the clinic. The farm and family were her priority. Our parents raised cattle, pedigreed grass seed, Canadian Warmblood horses and had a large garden. Calves were backgrounded and sent to a custom feedlot to be finished. They planted windbreaks around the farmyard. They built a feedlot with four large pens and one smaller pen. The 800 feet of continuous-poured cement bunks have a 14 foot apron. Before beginning construction, they consulted with Feedlot Health (Okotoks, AB). Much of their time was spent giving their children as much opportunity as possible. It was clear to Matthew, Farley, Bronwen and Zoe that any and all were to be welcomed back to the farm but they were not obliged.

George Burton worked on the farm from 1970 onwards. He had a separate house but ate meals with our family. As he developed Alzheimer’s, he was cared for as long as possible. In 2011, Matthew arranged for (and convinced) George to move into the Lodge in town; later, he assisted in moving George to long term care. In 2017, Matthew and his siblings arranged George’s funeral.

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