In 1970, the year they married, Jean-Pierre Patry and Lucie Ouellette acquired a 225 acre farm, located at 1981, Rang 2 North, in Weedon. Half of the farm was forested land and the rest under cultivation. They owned 15 milk cows, some replacement cattle, 20 ewes, 5 sows for pig finishing, a few chickens and a team of horses. The farm machinery consisted of two light tractors (30 and 50 HP) and cultivation machinery. The
barn–stable was only two years old at that time, as the previous one had been destroyed by a tornado.
During the first year of operation, Jean-Pierre and Lucie raised milk calves, while continuing to work for Jean-Pierre’s father, Lorenzo Patry, an auctioneer and animal dealer; he also owned a farm and an animal auction, Le Marché du cultivateur in Fontainebleau. In February 1971, however, Jean-Pierre’s father died of a heart attack at 48 years old.
Both finding jobs off the farm, Jean-Pierre and Lucie gave up raising milk calves and then bought 25 Shorthorn-Hereford cows and 125 acres of land from Jean-Pierre’s mother. A purebred Shorthorn bull was used as the herd bull, producing 400 to 500 lb weaned calves. In 1973, the couple acquired their first Charolais bull, an offspring of Cabotin son's. The following year the average weight of the calves at 200 days was 600 lb. Calving problems, however, were frequent and often times they had to sleep in the stable to avoid losing a cow, calf or both.
Over the course of the years, Jean-Pierre and Lucie grew the herd to 125 cross-bred beef cows, while at the same time finishing steers. To increase productivity, they always were on the lookout for Charolais bulls combining calving ease, rapid growth and good muscle.
The couple’s sons, Jean-François and Pierre-Marc, were born in 1978 and 1980 respectively. Several events led to Jean-Pierre and Lucie selling the cross-bred herd, and deciding in 1995, with the support of their two sons, to make the important switch to raising purebred Charolais cattle. Agronomist Jean Patoine, from the Ministère de l’Agriculture du Québec in Sherbooke, provided cogent advice, and Denis Brouillard, an agronomist as well and Viande Sélectionnée des Cantons (VSC) representative, was generous with his time. Over the years, additional support came from André Pérusse, fieldman with the Association Charolaise Québécoise, in the form of genetics development assistance, and from Helge By, Manager/Publisher of the Charolais Banner.
Everything began with the purchase of 13 cows and 2 heifers out of a herd of 25 heads of cattle. A young bull named Reja Poll Max was introduced in the herd. The first year thereafter, one of the heifers, which had been inseminated by Butte Lee Attraction, became a herd standout by virtue of its calf’s weight upon weaning. This heifer calf was named Belle, reflecting her pedigree conformation and docile nature. From Belle, JLP Haddock was born, the offspring of Baldrige Fasttrack, transforming rearing operations.
In 2000, fate dealt the farm a grievous blow, as Lucie succumbed to bone cancer at the age of 50. Two years later, Jean-Pierre took on his two sons, Jean-François and Pierre-Marc, as partners in the farm.
From the initial 15 purebred females, in 2015 the herd had grown to 100 cows out of a total of 180 head of cattle; the farm was now 650 acres in size, and all the equipment had been upgraded. In 2016, Jean-François, deciding to start his own business, sold his share of the farm to Myrianne Lessard, Pierre-Marc’s spouse.
After more than 24 years in Charolais rearing, La Ferme Patry in Weedon now boasts a cattle herd built on excellent genetic pedigrees, thanks to purchasing semen of renowned bulls and acquiring herd bulls with great genetic potential, and to the ever present passion of the farm’s owners.
Jean-Pierre in 1970
Jean-François et Pierre-Marc at the age of 18 and 16 with the bull Reja Poll Max