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Tribute to Mr. James Cotton

James Cotton


Although the original herd of James Cotton Sr. was lost to the threat of TB in the early 1900s, the hard work of James Cotton Jr. and his children resulted in a rebuilding of the herd starting with only three calves.  Sunnymead Farms was then run by George, Syd, and Ed Cotton.  James, son of Ed Cotton, was active on the farm and he and his sister, Ruth Powell, showed calves at many fairs as members of the local 4H club. James became more involved with the farm as he grew up and eventually took over management. He later married Roberta Hill and they had three children.

James was always active with Ayrshire clubs and by 1980, he was president of the Ontario Ayrshire club. In that same year, Sunnymead Farms received its first Superior Breeder Award and later in 2007, received the Master Breeder award for its herd’s top genetics.  His years running the farm were highlighted by cows like Sunnymead Jade’s Silk EX 95 2E 4*, Sunnymead Jade’s Whirl VG 86 2*, and Sunnymead Producer’s Olive EX 7E 91*. With the help of many, including a young Dave Bergeron, Sunnymead Farms exhibited at local fairs and Championship shows. James sent cattle to club sales and purchased from other farms to maintain diversity in the herd and breed.

James traveled with Ayrshire Canada to New Zealand and Scotland to publicise Canadian genetics and learn about different farming techniques. James was also an active member of numerous fair boards and acted as ambassador for the Ayrshire breed. Throughout the years, James attended and participated in Ayrshire Ontario and Ayrshire Canada meetings, events, and sales.

Today, his son Jaron manages the farm and carries on the legacy that James carried from his father and uncles. James is still actively contributing to the farm and hopes his grandchildren Owen and Olivia will someday carry on the Cotton heritage and tradition to make the 6th generation of Sunnymead Farms. James’s passion and dedication to the breed reflect the values of Ayrshire Canada and in recognition of his work, he is honoured as an Honourary Life Member.