Born in St-Albert, Ontario, on his parents’ farm with his sister and younger brother, Gaston Cayer soon noticed the benefits of the Ayrshire breed. At that time, his parents’ farm consists of non registered Ayrshires and a few Holsteins. At the end of the 50’s, in order to facilitate the exchange of machinery, Gaston and his father bought an 80 acres farm approximately one kilometer from the family farm.
In 1960, he marries Rachelle Lafrance and with his beloved moves to this parcel of land. Over the following years, four children are born: Joanne, Denise, Jean and Lorraine. During that time, they start dairy production with his father’s non registered cows. Gaston’s dream is, of course, to own a purebred herd. Therefore he wastes no time and buys his first pure-bred.
Inspired by his father, who at the time invests a lot of time, effort and money in the coop system, Gaston has all the necessary qualities to help him build a herd of great reputation. He has visions, perseverance and is extremely hard working. But, the beginnings are quite difficult: not many female calves are born from his purebreds and the milk production is lower than his crossbred cows. Artificial insemination and non-supervised milk recording are therefore indispensable tools for his herd’s future achievements. In 1976, he purchases the first Duo Vac 300 to facilitate milking and implicate his children more. With the constant support of his wife and children on the farm, Gaston takes the time to get involved in his community as Director of the Grain Coop, the St-Albert cheese factory, the Parish Committee and the Recreation Center.
In 1982, Gaston changes from non-supervised to supervised milk recording. At the time, this approach is very prestigious. The honors and fruits of all these years of patience and hard work begin to materialize. In 1983, in Russell County, Gaston’s herd wins the Best Herd Improvement Award, and the following year, the best herd average, of all dairy breeds. Another unbelievable rivalry in dairy production creeps into the county. The county’s Holstein Association even thinks of holding a separate DHI banquet from the colored breeds. The effect of Gaston’s success is astounding!
In 1988, in order to facilitate the transfer of the family farm to their son Jean, Gaston and Rachelle incorporate and operate the farm under the name of G.R.J. Cayer Inc. In 1993, after an unbelievable year for forage quality, the herd is awarded the prize for Best Herd Average in Canada, one of the first Ayrshire herds to exceed 20,000 lbs per cow.
In 1994, Jean and his wife Lyne take over the farm, now known as Ferme Jelyca inc., Today, Gaston is still active every day on the farm, he milks the cows twice a day and sees to the smooth functioning of the operations. He also helps with planting, harvesting and other activities. During his free time, with his wife, Gaston likes to travel with his colleagues of the Ayrshire breed, trips organized by Ayrshire Canada. They also like to visit the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.
Over all those years, Gaston, in his own way, promoted the Ayrshire breed, made it more productive and definitely more profitable. In conclusion, it’s important to note that this success was made possible due to his accomplice, Rachelle and her constant support.