Report #2 from Brian Harper

Circle H Farms, Brandon, Manitoba: Stew’s purebred Devon are a perfect fit to our place for both environment and production. They are hardy, efficient and docile, with a high meat-to-bone ratio, exactly what we were looking for as we market some beef directly. I don’t believe I have ever had a bull on my operation with the meat and the balance of this Devon bull. These cattle are the true grass-based genetics that we strive to produce after becoming a forage-only program in 2005.
I consider us very fortunate, kind of like a dream come true, to have found them! As times change and producers look to stay profitable in the future, I feel more will be looking to change to grass genetics. Now we have them in southern Manitoba, which is central to meet demand in both the eastern and western provinces along with some northern states of the US.

I am honored to carry on in Stewart’s footsteps supplying the Devons to Canada and I’m grateful to Stewart for considering us when it came time to part with his herd. He will be greatly missed in the Devon world!

Brian & Sonja Harper
Brandon, Manitoba

Stew Simpson 1921 – 2016

On Monday, February 22, 2016, Stewart Simpson of Glencoe passed away at the age of 94 years. Son of the late Fred and Jemima (McEachren) Simpson. Brother to Frances McCallum, late Doug Simpson, Dorothy Parker (Harvey) and Ina Nelms. Survived by his children Mary Simpson (Ross Snider), Margaret Mueller (Michael Sr.) and the late Peter Simpson (Vicky) and their mother Betty Simpson, his grandchildren Michael Mueller Jr., Matthew Mueller (Lyndsey), Nik Mueller, Paige Mueller, Eric Simpson (Sarah) and Owen Simpson and his great grandchildren Peter James and Carter Simpson.

Stew started farming full time with his Dad and brother Doug at the age of 13 and continued farming actively until his death.  He was the first president of Glencoe Junior Farmers and threw himself into the poultry business, being one of the early farmers to specialize in egg layers.  Stew grew all the grain for his hens and made his own feed.  He was the first farmer in Ontario to roast soybeans for poultry feed.

He learned to fly in the late 1950s and was a founding member of the Ontario Flying Farmers, serving as president for both the local Ontario chapter as well as the International Flying Farmers.

In his late 70s, he transitioned from eggs to cattle, moving to the Old River Farm, an original Simpson settler farm on the Thames River across from where he grew up.  He involved himself with many creative projects.  He was very proud to introduce the pure North Devon cattle breed into Canada, a breed withthe ability to thrive on grass, with superior gains in harsh climates.

In keeping with his wishes, cremation has taken place. There will be a celebration of life held at his Old River Farm on Saturday. April 16, 2016 from 2 – 5 p.m.  All are welcome.  Memorial donations may be made to a charity of your choice in his memory.

“Innovative, creative, flying farmer, always a leader in his field. A capitalist with a keen sense of fairness for his fellow man. I will miss his visits, always interesting.”  –  Bill Gray, L.H. Gray & Son, Gray Ridge Eggs. 

Stew Simpson

Stew Simpson touring the Danceys around Old River Farm


Report #1 from Brian Harper

Stew’s herd of North Devon are settling in very nicely to their new home near Brandon, Manitoba.  Now that they are familiar with everything, they are more relaxed in their new holdings. I  keep them isolated from the main herd so they can continue to adjust.  Come calving time and summer pasture, they will enter the main stream.
Because I leave the calves nursing my cows for 10 months, I did see the need to put the young heifers with calves nursing on a light portion of grain to help them ease into my management.  The cows are doing great! Heifers bred as yearlings do not have the ability to produce a second fetus, continue to grow while nursing a calf and maintain body condition without some added energy.
Typically our heifers are bred as 2 year olds and they have completed growth and filling fat cells before going into production mode. They do not require more than high quality forage to function productively.
Here is a video that the Commission for Environmental Cooperation did about us which got me invited to the Tri-National Grasslands Conference in Wichita Kansas last May 2015.
Circle H Farms, Brandon, Manitoba