Jenine Ruzicka got hooked on the cattle business at a young age. She sold her first Simmental heifer when she was just 14 and hasn’t looked back. A couple of years later, when she didn’t have funds to buy an expensive bull, Ruzicka took an artificial insemination course to learn how to improve the genetics of her own cattle.
She had her own farm before she and husband, Mike, married in 2007 and her operation joined the Ruzicka family farm in Killam, Alberta.
The couple calves out about 90 head of purebred black and red Simmentals and 150 head of commercial cattle. They also run some Angus in their commercial herd.
She and her husband like Simmentals because they find the breed to be good uddered, good structured animals, and easy to feed.
When it comes to running their cattle operation, customer relationships are very important to the Ruzickas and they prioritize getting to know what their customers are looking for.
“We try not to follow the fads on what everybody else is doing, or breeding for, and stay true to what we know works best for our herd and what’s going to work best for our customers in the long term,” Ruzicka said.
They held their fifth annual bull sale online this year.
The couple has five children between the ages of seven and 14 and she said all the kids are involved in the farm in one way or another.
“They’re all good at sorting cows, of course, but some of them are more hands-on with machinery, and some are more hands-on with the cattle end of things. They all kind of have their place, and they’re all learning more each year, so we’re pretty excited about it.”
Along with the children, their extended family helps on the farm. Ruzicka’s father-in-law is the feed man in the winter when her husband, a welder, goes out of town for work, and her father often helps out when the farm is busy, especially during calving season.
“Everybody pitches in and we’re grateful for all their help,” Ruzicka said. “We wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”
Being able to work every day alongside the family is what Ruzicka loves most about having a farm. She enjoys being able to work alongside her husband and kids and feels that their time together helps them to get along so well and be able to overcome adversity together.
Nicole Starker Campbell