The Stoddart Family Farm is home to Canada’s only herds of White Park cattle. The Stoddart’s host the Rare Breeds Canada herd of White Park in addition to their own herd.
The herd the Stoddart’s own arrived in 2006 from Glen Case in Ottawa. The herd has it’s origins with a single heifer that was sold to Joywind Farm at Marmora, ON in the late 1980’s by the King Ranch which had been home to the only known North American herd since the Second World War.
Our goals at the Stoddart Family Farm with respect to the White Park are three-fold:
1. Sort out the genetic lineage of the animals and increase their numbers.
2. Sell breeding stock in order to establish other herds of White Park in Canada.
3. Develop a niche market for the products of White Park and other rare breed animals in Canada.
To that end we are currently DNA testing all of the animals we purchased to clarify their lineage and ensure that they are true purebred White Park as we believe there are several animals amongst the ones we purchased that may only be percentage White Parks.
Why are we willing to invest our time, energy and resources in the White Parks? The White Park was an economically important breed in the British Isles dating back over 2000 years. It is mentioned in several ancient celt ballads (such as ‘Tain Bo Cualgnel — Cattle Raid at Cooley— click here for more information on the history of this breed). It is only with the changes to “modern” agriculture of the last century that White Park have fallen out of favour for animals that are more conducive to feedlot production of beef. In contrast, White Park excel in pasture based systems including poor quality pasture.
We believe it is important to preserve this important breed for a number of reasons:
1. It is one of the most genetically distinct of the British breeds and may be a source of important genes in the future.
2. As beef production shifts back to pasture based production, the White Park grazier genetics and ability to finish an edible carcass on grass will return to favour (try eating the meat of some of the modern breeds without finishing them in a feedlot—my guess is you’d prefer the hide to the steaks).
3. Extinction is forever.
4. We are called to be good stewards of all the creatures.