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Cherry Garden Farm back in business

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

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THE 450-acre property called Cherry Garden Farm, located just outside of Gutters, St Catherine, was once a thriving business. The farm reared fish, had 300 dairy herd, pigs, goats, sheep, and chickens.

Once operated by six-time national champion farmer Moses Jumi, the farm was forced to close due to the significant declines in the agricultural sector, among other reasons.

Jumi had passed on, the influx of imported milk powder resulted in a decline in the consumption of locally produced cow's milk, and the dreaded mad cow disease had been its toll on livestock, a media release said yesterday.

After years of the land sitting idly, Jumi's son Roy has revived operations at the farm.

“Production was very good in those times. We were producing and the business was profitable. Then things went down. The property was just there sitting dusty and looking rugged,” Roy recalled.

At the height of its production, the massive operation had up to 300 milking cows.

“After my father died, the business wasn't being handled properly... Some of the animals were sold, and some were given away. All the animals just disappeared,” Roy said with a hint of sadness in his voice.

All he had remaining were memories. His passion for dairy farming, along with the renewed interest in the dairy sector, thanks to the Drink Real Milk campaign that was launched a few years ago, made the younger Jumi decide to get the farm up and running again.

“When I looked at the land, the grass, the infrastructure... I decided to get back into dairy for the love of it. It is one of the most expensive careers, but if you don't have the kind of passion, it doesn't make any sense,” Roy said.

The process of rebuilding the farm included technical advice, which he received from Newport Mills, manufacturer of the Nutramix brand of animal feed.

“We have been giving Mr Jumi technical assistance since June 2017. We gave him reproductive advice, set up the herd which we bred from artificial insemination, nutrition and feeding advice, and we also provided imported semen,” livestock support manager, Newport Mills Dr Gabrielle Young explained.

Dr Young continued: “We were there on the ground with him from the start and set up the nutrition programme on how much to feed the heifers, what to feed so that they would get into heat at the right time, as well as housing.”

According to Roy, rebuilding the farm from scratch has been a challenge.

“We did some refurbishing by clearing out the trees and shrubs. We've come a far way, but we still have a lot to get done.

“We have 26 calves at present, which were born through artificial insemination. Nutramix has provided veterinarian services and we have persons coming in twice a week just to check up on the animals. The Nutramix feed is of good quality and you see the results in the animals,” he continued.

With more than 60 milking cows at present, Roy expects production of milk to increase over the next few months.

The release posited that the revived Cherry Garden Farm is a positive move for the economy and the agriculture sector as it is not only contributing to milk production, but it also employs some 14 people.

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