Nova Scotia

Farm-sitting service proving popular with Nova Scotia farmers

Kylynne Sheffield has started a business taking care of farmers' animals while the owners are on vacation.

Kylynne Sheffield has started a business taking care of farmers' animals while the owners are on vacation

Kylynne Sheffield has started a farm-sitting business looking after farms while the owners are away. (Natalie Dobbin/CBC)

Farmer Ken Langille got to do something recently that is a rarity for people in his line of work — he took a vacation.

He and his wife were able to go camping for a few days thanks to Kylynne Sheffield, a Nova Scotia woman who recently launched a farm-sitting business to help farmers get away.

Kylynne Sheffield is also working with some of the charolais cattle at Golden Brook Farms to get them ready to show. (Natalie Dobbin/CBC)

"Horse people want to get away to their shows and they may have some other horses still at home and other farmers are busy in the hayfields and somebody has got to do chores for them," said Sheffield, who is from Stanley in East Hants.

"If they are able to get away, they still need someone to do the work of running the farm."

Sheffield has a farm background and recently graduated from Dalhousie University's agricultural campus in Bible Hill. She started farm-sitting during high school, but made a business plan while at Dal and recently quit her job at a feed store in Truro so she could start her new job.

A break for farmers

Langille and his wife Bonnie, who own Golden Brook Farms in Malagash, are grateful for Sheffield's service. 

"It gives you the opportunity to just go away and relax and know that there's nothing to worry about," said Langille.

"She texted us every day to tell us how things were going. It was great."

Bonnie and Ken Langille use Kylynne Sheffield's farm-sitting service so they can get away to go camping. (Natalie Dobbin/CBC)

The couple said friends have come in before to look after the farm and have done a great job, but they hated imposing on them.

"It's different because this is her business, this is her passion," Bonnie Langille said.

Golden Brook Farms is one of about a dozen farms where Sheffield is farm-sitting this summer.

The camping trip was a nice break for the Langilles. They plan to use Sheffield's services again.

"We do hope at times to travel a little further and we know that we can feel confident in calling upon Kylynne," said Langille. "Even if it's going to be for two or three weeks."

Sheffield is also going to show some of the couple's charolais cattle. 

Busy summer

At the beef farm in Malagash, Sheffield's focus was making sure all the animals were fed and watered. That included horses, cows and some very demanding chickens. She also collected the eggs the chickens had laid in their coop.

Kylynne Sheffield feeds the chickens at Golden Brook Farms in Malagash. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Sheffield said her summer calendar filled up quickly and she's booked up until Aug. 30.

"I really hope to expand to have enough clients to help keep me going for the rest of the year," said Sheffield. "I want this to be my full-time job."

This business is perfect for Sheffield, who loves animals but doesn't want the expense of a farm, or being tied to one spot — and her freedom is giving farmers freedom, too.

With files from Natalie Dobbin