Quebec farms have long been characterized by their wide range of agricultural activities, which is a typical phenomenon in subsistence farming. In the last 50 years, dairy farms have slowly become specialized, while remaining human-scale, family-run farms.
Milk producers may have other types of production. While many also have a maple stand or market their surplus grain, the vast majority earn their main revenue from milk production. Nowadays, Quebec dairy farms have an average of 78 cows per herd and produce more than 700,000 litres of milk per year.
In the beginning of the 1980s, most dairy farms were operated by one person. Nowadays, more and more farms are incorporated. These agricultural businesses are generally formed by partners from the same family: parents and children, spouses, brothers or sisters. Therefore, the number of dairy farms has gradually decreased but the size of these farms has increased.
On a dairy farm, some work is performed 7 days a week for 12 months a year, including holidays. This work specifically concerns the animals, such as milking, feeding, reproduction management and stock rearing. The food given to the herd requires special attention since the daily rations are customized to the potential of each cow, its productivity and stage of lactation.
Other work is more seasonal, such as ploughing, seeding, fertilization, harvesting and storing the hay and grains. Machine and building maintenance and repair also require constant attention. In addition, producers must be well-informed managers. But above all, they are men and women who practice a noble profession with passion and pride.