Jim and Mary Field both grew up on Lynn Valley Road farms – Jim’s family a mile west of the Cockshutt Road, and Mary’s a mile east. The couple met in elementary school, dated throughout high school and married in 1958. Mary became a teacher and Jim a qualified Class A mechanic.
The couple purchased their first farm on the 14th Concession of Townsend in 1969. The two entered into the dairy business but quickly realized the life of a dairy farmer wasn’t for them. In 1970, they turned their attention to purebred swine, focusing on Landrace and Duroc breeds later expanding to Yorkshire, York/Land, and Hamp/Duroc. Following the sale of the Townsend farm, the couple purchased a much larger operation on the Lynn Valley Road next to where Mary had grown up. “Ja-Mar Farm” quickly established itself as having top management practices with their swineherd being recognized as one of the top 10 in Ontario.
In 1987, Jim and Mary switched their herd to a “high health” farm with an aim to produce the highest form of excellence achievable in purebred swine. Their efforts paid off and they were able to register the breeds with Canadian Livestock Records and began exporting to Australia, China, Russia, USA, Korea, Malaysia, Holland, and parts of South America. They maintained this high health status until they went out of breeding stock in 2005.
As a full partnership in the farm operation, Jim and Mary both showed outstanding leadership and advocacy in their field and were recognized throughout the country for these efforts. Through their utilization of testing programs, increasing sow productivity, and development of positive traits, Ja-Mar Farm exhibited exemplary swine health throughout its 30 plus years in operation.
- Mary has long been involved in projects dealing with women’s rights, particularly where women have worked side-by-side with their husbands in developing a viable farm enterprise
- Mary served as the first female director of the Canadian Swine Breeders Association. In this role, she was selected to represent Ontario as a director to the National Record of Performance Board. She was also selected by her peers to chair the first ever trade commission to the USA, which resulted in world stock sales
- Mary was the first female President of the Ontario Swine Breeders Association, the first female Director of the National Swine ROP Program, Director of Norfolk Rural Women, and Vice President of the Ontario farm Machinery Board
- Jim and Mary were full partners in the operation of Ja-Mar Farms
- Mary was instrumental in helping Mr. Bill Knowles, M.P., get the Capital Gains exemption for farmers
- Jar-Mar Farm was awarded the Outstanding Pork Producer Award by the Ontario Pork Congress, Ontario Swine Breeders Association Award of Merit, Ontario Pork Producers Award for Leadership and Dedicated Service, and the Canadian Swine Breeders Association Award of Recognition
- Ja-Mar Farm selected as a University of Guelph veterinarian training farm
- Jim was President of the Norfolk Pork Producers and Woodhouse Federation of Agriculture
- Jim was the Director of the Provincial Marketing Initiative Group advising to the Federal and Provincial Ministers of Agriculture
Jim and Mary is featured in our Virtual Agricultural Hall of Fame Video, showcasing 2020’s recipients and loved ones receiving their awards.