Contributed photo above: Joe Gray (right) sits with Herb Norry whom he credits with giving valuable guidance during his early farming years
There is no doubt Joe Gray has farming in his blood. Fresh out of high school he started farming with his dad George Gray. Tragically George met an early death in a farming accident. So at age 19 Joe and his younger brother Sam formed a partnership, Gray Bros., and took over working the farm.
“We were fortunate to have a great Peel Agricultural representative Herb Norry who gave us lots of guidance, during those first few years” Joe admits. “Then we purchased the home farm from our mother in 1964 and the second farm from her in 1967.”
The brothers survived and ran a very successful dairy farm until December of 1997. That’s when Sam developed a health issue and the decision was made to dissolve the partnership. And so it was that on January 1st, 1998 Joe and his wife Elaine formed a partnership “Grayhaven Farms”. The couple have raised veal and baby beef calves plus field crops for many years. At this time they share crop all of their land with business friends.
Joe has led a life committed to the farming community in terms of both employment and volunteer roles. In 1963 he was Founding President of Dixielane Junior Farmers. For many years he served as a Peel 4H leader. Joe was also a member of Alloa Junior Farmers, Secretary-Treasurer of the Peel Junior Farmers and was on their Renovation Committee for the old Junior Farmers building at the Brampton Fair Grounds.
Joe was a first a delegate and then a member of the board for Gay Lea Foods Co-op from 1996-2005 as well as their representative on the Board of Ontario Federation of Agriculture. He was also on the board of the Peel Soil & Crop Improvement Association, the Peel Holstein Club and the Peel Milk Committee. And Joe served as Secretary-Treasurer of Peel Federation of Agriculture for many years.
His involvement didn’t stop there. Joe was part-owner, board member, and Secretary-Treasurer of Flowerlea Dairy Co-op in Brampton. He was a board member for Dairyland Transport Co-op and eventually worked up to the position of Chair.
More recently Joe was Project Manager for the beautiful building for Peel Hardware & Supply in 2015-2016 on Hwy 10 just south of Victoria.
But, if one role possibly stands out, it is likely his involvement with S.H.A.R.E. Agriculture Foundation which has spanned 39 years and continues to this day.
Stay tuned for part two where we tell the story of S.H.A.R.E. next week on JSC
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