John Boy Farms


John Boy
 Farms History:

The Beginning
In 1878, rumours that good fertile farmland in the Red River Valley of Manitoba was available to anyone that was willing to work hard reached Alfred Ouimet (Jean-Guy's great great grandfather) in Ste. Rose, Quebec Canada. The spirit of adventure that had brought his ancestor from France in 1660 to establish himself on a farm in l'Ile d'Orlenes New France (now Quebec) was growing in him. Engaged to a pretty Irish girl named Bridget Manning, he told her of his dream of going to Manitoba. He would claim some land, build a house and come back for her.

HomesteadTrue to his word, he was back in Quebec in September, 1879 and the two were married. They then took a train and then ox cart to the bride's new home, a 12' X 14' two storey log house along the Red River just south of Winnipeg. The picture on the left shows it still standing over 130 years later.

Alfred began to clear his land and grow mainly wheat, barley and oats which was typical of most farms at the time. In 1909 (30 years after he first settled) he received an official grant for his land giving him true ownership of the farm. In 1912 he decided that the farm needed more land in order to support him and his four sons and they bought an additional river lot adjacent to their existing land. In 1915, Alfred died and his two sons John and Alfred Jr. took over the two pieces of land and Farmed together until 1949 when Jean-Leon (Jean-Guy's grandfather) bought his father's portion. 

In the spring of 1950, Jean-Leon encountered great hardship as a result of the major flooding caused by the Red River. He was forced to sell all his livestock consisting of 13 cattle, 2 pigs and 3 horses. When the devastation was over, all he could afford were 3 cows and one team of horses. Although times were tough, he continued to farm grains, chickens, pigs and dairy cows for many more years, raising a healthy family of 8 children, 18 grand-children and many more great grand-children. Having left school at age 14 in order to manage the farm due to his father's poor health, it's safe to say that Jean-Leon's hard work ethic, loyalty to family and strong faith allowed him to leave a proud legacy for his family.        


In 2006, Jean-Guy and his wife Ainsley bought the family farm from his grandfather and moved in. They converted the farm from traditional grain production to a vegetable and livestock farm that uses sustainable farming practices. Some of the land used for vegetable and beef production had not been farmed in a number of year. Over time nature had slowly taken over some of the most productive areas and made it difficult to farm without improvements.  

Farm TodayAfter three years of hard work, Jean-Guy had cleared enough fence lines and sufficiently prepared the soil to once again put the all the farmland into full production. In 2009, he left his government job of 6 years to begin farming fulltime. The spirit of adventure that had driven his great great grandfather to move to Manitoba so many years earlier was still alive.

The Springs of 2009 and 2010 brought major flooding from the Red River and two of the wettest summers on record. Although the farming was a challenge, Ainsley and Jean-Guy kept their faith and with a lot of help from family, managed to make things work. Today, they continue to farm vegetables and fruit, and continue to adapt to changing consumer trends as demand for sustainably grown crops continues to grow.

It is Jean-Guy's hope that many more generations of his family will have the privilege of farming the land just as he and the grandfathers before him have.