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Twin Maple Shorthorns -Jim and Lynn Poole Good People - Good Cattle - Good Times..... By Grant Alexander Reprinted from The Canadian Shorthorn Report
With the Canadian ShorthornAssociation Annual Meeting being held in Halifax in early June, I thought it would be a most fitting time to feature a long time Shorthorn breeding establishment from the Maritimes. There are many excellent herds of Shorthorn cattle in the region, and in this issue we are writing about Twin Maple Shorthorns, owned by Jim and Lynn Poole, Middle Musqoudoboit, NS.
I first met Jim and Lynn Poole at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, about 35 years ago. They were fairly new Shorthorn breeders at the time but I did not have to talk to them very long to figure out that they had both been bitten by the Shorthorn bug. Somehow, you could just tell that they were in this breed for the long haul. It was a few years later that I really got to know them well, when Jim and I worked together on the board of directors of the Canadian Shorthorn Association. It was at this time that I got witness the passion Jim had for the Shorthorn breed.
I will always remember asking Jim as to where their farm was located in Nova Scotia. He replied that they lived at Middle Musquodoboit, which was right between Upper Musquodoboit and Lower Musquodoboit. This made perfect sense to me! I was later to find out that Middle Musquodoboit is located very close to the center of the province, in the Musquodoboit valley. It is approximately an hour drive from Halifax and about 30 minutes from Truro, NS. Their farm consists of 400 acres, of which 300 acres is woodland and 100 acres is lush grass meadows where their herd of 40 + Shorthorn cows are maintained. This number of cows works well for their operation as it allows them to put up their feed supplies without having to purchase any extra. Jim and Lynn met while both were attending college in Halifax. The story of their meeting sounds like it could have come from the script of a Hollywood love story. Jim and Lynn were attending different universities in Halifax. They were both driving their cars home after classes when they got caught in mad rush hour traffic. Jim glanced over at the car beside his, and saw a cute girl driving it. He smiled at her, and she smiled back, and they headed off in different directions to their respective homes. Several days later, they were both driving home after classes, and again got stuck in the rush hour traffic. Jim says he glanced at the car beside him and the cute girl from a few days previous was sitting in her car beside him again. Jim says that he does believe in fate, but when a chance meeting like this happened twice, it was enough for him. He signalled to her and she followed him to the local Dairy Queen where they had a Mister Misty… and their first date. As they say, the rest is history.
Jim and Lynn were married and had two children, Janelle and Chris. Both grew up working on the farm with their parents. Jim says that Lincoln may have freed the slaves, but farm children are still waiting. Jim and Lynn often comment on the wonderful work ethic their children have and they think that it is due, at least in part, to the “slave labour” they were subjected to on the farm. Both Janelle and Chris were very active in 4-H growing up, and showed many Champion steers at regional and provincial shows with their home raised Shorthorn steers. Today, Janelle works in Public Relations for Microsoft and lives in Seattle, Washington. Chris works in landscape design and has his own family. They live relatively near the farm.
Twin Maple Duke's Kendra 9L a daughter of Alta Cedar Duke from the Kendra cow family....... Jim taught at the local high school. When they graduated from college, teaching positions were plentiful and they had several to choose from. They chose to take teaching positions in rural Nova Scotia as Jim was already hooked on farming. They moved to Middle Musquodoboit in May, 1970 just after their college graduation. Jim says he asked every kid in school if they knew of any farms in the area that were for sale. One day a senior student came and told him that his grandmother wanted to sell her farm. Jim and Lynn went to visit her and they liked what they saw. They made an offer on the farm and it was accepted. Forty years later, they are still living there. In 2002, Jim and Lynn both retired from teaching so that they could farm full time.
Twin Maple Duke's Pumpkin 11M (dam by Moombi Powerplay) A daughter of Alta Cedar Duke from the Pumpkin cow family.
It was a local Shorthorn breeder who introduced the Poole’s to Shorthorns.This man was Irvine Conrad, who was a long time breeder at Middle Musquodoboit. He pastured his Shorthorns near the Poole’s new farm and Jim would go over and spend time in Irvine’s barn when he was doing chores. Jim says “I got hooked.” Jim and Lynn decided that they would try to get some Shorthorns for their own farm. In 1972, the Maritime Shorthorn Field Day was held in Prince Edward Island. The well known dual purpose herd of Stan and Marion Hurry hosted a sale in conjunction with the Field Day, at their Evergreen Farm. Jim and Lynn decided that they were going to attend these events. Prior to going, Jim went to the bank and borrowed some money. When the sale was done, the Poole’s were the volume buyer and they were officially in the Shorthorn business.
Jim was so taken with the massive dual purpose females in the Hurry herd that he went back and purchased two more outstanding females. Some of today’s cow families go back to these original females. Twin Maple G Robinette 20S A daughter of Muridale Grecko from the Robinette cow family.
Many of the herd sires that have walked the Twin Maple pastures have come from leading herds throughout Canada and the USA. In 1986 Glenford Advancer 1T was purchased from Bender Shorthorns at the Regina Bull Sale where he was the Grand Champion Bull. He was a son of Glenford Ayatollah 2nd X, and he worked very well in their herd. SS Conquest was purchased from Schrag Shorthorns, Marion, SD in 1989. He was a son of AF Dividend’s Impact. Shadybrook Ultimate 42E was then selected from Shadybrook Farm Ltd, West Brome, QC. He was a son of CHS Royalty X and he was out of a great dam, GR Una Kewpie. Ultimate left an excellent set of daughters in their herd. In 1999, Jim and Lynn attended the Canadian National Show in Edmonton, and they selected Alta Cedar Duke 17H as their new herd sire. He was purchased from the well known Alta Cedar herd owned by Bill and Edith Boake, Acme, AB. This bull also bred well in their herd, and added thickness to his offspring. Green Grove Kate’s Improver was purchased in 2001 from Philip and Patty Burgess, Windsor, NS. He combined some of the great cow families in the Green Grove herd and he also was a sire that brought improvement
Muridale Touchdown 63T on fall pasture as a three year old after breeding 40 cows.
to their herd. In 2004, they purchased Muridale Grecho 18P X, a son of Alta Cedar Ultimate 130K, while attending Canadian Western Agribition. He was purchased from Muridale Shorthorns, Swift Current, SK. Grecho was used for several years in their herd and is now working in the herd of Ian Lockerby, Kensington, Prince Edward Island. The Poole’s were so pleased with how this bull bred in their herd that they purchased their second Muridale herd sire in 2007. This was Muridale Touchdown 63T, a son of Saskvalley Bonanza 219M. Touchdown possesses excellent thickness and depth of body and he is stamping his calves with these qualities. Jim feels that good cow families are important to building a good breeding herd. The Myrtle cow family originated from a Kenmar Myrtle female that was purchased at the 1980 World Shorthorn Congress in Calgary. In 1990, they purchased the entire herd of Seymour Hurry in PEI. With this purchase came the Robinette cow family, which traces to the famous Green Ridge Robin cow family. Also in this purchase came the Pumpkin cow family which has been one of the most productive lines in the herd. Twin Maple G Licky 2U (dam by Shadybrook Ultimate) A yearling daughter of Muridale Grecko 18P from the Licky cow family. Another cow family that has worked very well for them are the Secrets, which originated in the Green Grove herd owned by Philip Burgess.
Lynn and Jim at Agribition in 2008. They had won the Ringmaster's Choice and chose Semiahmoo Tilly 15T, a daughter of Shadybrook Dreamer 2H - the heifer that went Coast to Coast! Jim has always felt that one of the best ways to promote the breed was to have Shorthorns involved in multi breed feeding trails. When the Maritime Beef Test Society in conjunction with the Federal Experimental Farm at Nappan, NS began a steer evaluation project, Jim entered 5 Shorthorn steers in 2006/2007. He entered 5 more in the test the following year. Each group of steers was tested for average daily gain, cost per pound of gain and net returns per head and a complete carcass evaluation was done on each steer. The Poole steers had the second highest gain along with the lowest feed/gain ratio. They were one of the earliest groups to go to market and they averaged 757 dressed weight at 15 1/2 months of age. Their steers were the only group that had 100% AAA grades, and they were also one of two groups of steers that had a positive net return. These steers were all sons of their herd sire, Muridale Grecko 18P.
Jim has always been a strong believer that the breed had to retain a level of visibility in the Canadian beef industry. He was very instrumental in the CSA developing a national advertising campaign that has been proved to be monumental in improving the breed’s image. He has been a huge supporter of performance testing and producing EPD’s for Shorthorns in Canada. He says that promoting and marketing your cattle today has seen some major changes. With this in mind, they have developed a farm website to promote their Shorthorns. They invite you to take a “virtual tour” of their farm by visiting their website at www.twinmapleshorthorns.com
Twin Maple Uncle Buck 10U
A Muridale Grecko bull calf from the
Myrtle cow family - now seeing herd
duties in the New Brunswick herd of
Twin Maple G Secret 13W
A daughter of Muridale Grecko from
the Secret cow family.
When asked about some of the people who have influenced him in this business, Jim was quick to respond that this breed has many wonderful people. He said that Irvine Conrad and Stan Hurry, were his mentors when he started his herd and he learned a lot from each of these men. Another man who was an influence to him was the late Ron Carter, from Surrey, BC. Ron was on the CSA board with Jim for many years. Jim says that when Ron spoke at a director’s meeting, he was someone you wanted to listen to, as he had much wisdom to offer.
Both Jim and Lynn have been very active in numerous breed activities as well as in the community. As was mentioned previously, Jim spent 10 years on the board of directors of the Canadian Shorthorn Association, and is a Past President of this organization. He says that he got to see the inside of a lot of airports and hotels from one end of this country to the other. As he was working full time, he had to apply for permission to take the days off to attend these meetings. Because he was on a tight schedule, he never had time to see any herds in the area or just see the sights. Thankfully, there was always a hospitality room to unwind in after a long day of meeting and Jim says he sure had a good time in them. By attending these meetings for a decade, they got to meet Shorthorn breeders from all parts of Canada. They continue to be actively involved in the Maritime Shorthorn Association, where Jim is currently President and Lynn is Secretary-Treasurer. They have supported and promoted the breed throughout the Maritime region and have exhibited their cattle at many Maritime shows, as well as at the Royal, in Toronto. They have supported many Shorthorn sales in the region as well. Twin Maple Secret Touch 9X A daughter of Muridale Touchdown 63T from the Secret cow family.
Jim and Lynn say that one of the things they love the most about the Shorthorn business is that it has allowed them to get around the country and get to know many wonderful people. As a result of this, they have friends all across this immense country. Since their retirement, Jim and Lynn have attended Canadian Western Agribition every year. They have also attended a National show at Farmfair International in Edmonton, AB. Another “must do” on their list is they drive to Quebec every two years to attend the Shadybrook sale. It also goes without saying that they also attend almost all Shorthorn events held in their part of eastern Canada.
Jim and Lynn are looking forward to the 2010 CSA Annual Meeting in Halifax on June 4-5. The host hotel is the Delta Halifax, which is located right on the waterfront. They invite all Shorthorn breeders across the country to take a holiday and visit this incredible part of the world. The Maritime Shorthorn breeders have planned an excellent program, and in Jim’s words “you won’t be sorry”.
Many years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Jim and Lynn and see their excellent herd of Shorthorns. I think of this visit often, as it was truly memorable and enjoyable. Their hospitality was simply “world class” and we had a great time talking Shorthorns. They live in a beautiful part of this country and it is one of my favourite places I have been fortunate to visit. To me, what makes the Maritimes extra special is more the people than the scenery. Maritime people are simply as good as they come, and Jim and Lynn Poole are fine examples of this. If you ever have a chance to visit this part of the world, I would strongly recommend you include a visit to Twin Maple Farm. I will guarantee that you will be glad you did.
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Jim and Lynn
Twin Maple Shorthorns
Middle Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia