How We Began
In 1910, middle aged farmer Wilmer Persall and his wife Alice bought a small farm near Waterford, in south central Ontario, Canada. In these days farming was more than a way of life, it was survival. In order to support his young family Wilmer kept a mixed farm of dairy and beef cattle, pigs, chickens, apple orchard, hay, mixed grains (for feed only) and of course, a large healthy vegetable garden.
This operation made little in the way of money but supported the family in the manner of food. By the mid 20's the economy was slipping, the apple orchard was completely wiped out from disease, property prices dropped below what Wilmer had paid and still owed. Not being able to advance with the loss, the times (mechanization) and having a forward business mind (not to mention his age), losing the farm seemed imminent.
Harold Persall (son of Wilmer and Alice) had optimism for the troubled farm. He had a forward thinking innovative business mind and promised to turn around this sinking ship. Harold not only wanted to save it, but build it bigger, knowing this was the way of the future.
The Rise of Roanoke Farm
In 1928 he started off by eliminating anything and everything that was not making money and focused on what he could make money on. Having a love for poultry and willing to take a risk he ventured into a hatchery business breeding chickens for the egg farmers as well as growing field crops. In a few years he had bred a breed of chickens that was unlike no other in the industry. This proved to be a very profitable venture that enabled him to acquire more farms to support (feed) more chickens.
In the earlier 1930's, Harold married Dora Price, and moved into the old farm house. Having a love for Roanoke West Virginia, Harold decided to call the farm Roanoke Farm. It is still active today under that name.
Persall Farms Incorporated!
Clarence Persall (son of Harold and Dora) was growing up with passion for farming as well. In 1954 at age 20 Clarence started farming with his father full time. With the same mind set of his father but with more of a mechanical "I can fix it" mentality, Clarence started fixing, designing and building equipment that would help with efficiencies in the operations. Within a few years Clarence's brother Doug would join as well, allowing Harold to slowly roll out of the day to day tasks. In 1958 Clarence married Marie Domotor, buying and moving into a neighbouring farm house that Harold had previously purchased.
As time went on the hatchery business slowed, as other farms were competing with their own breeds. The farm shifted into an egg laying operation and more time and effort was put into the field crops growing corn, soybeans and wheat. In the late 1970's Harold retired, allowing Clarence and Doug to take over the farm operation, but not without continuing to add his two cents worth on a regular basis. Clarence and Marie had three children; Brad, Kelly and Jason, all of whom, while growing up, unwillingly did chores thru the summer months and on weekends. They knew it was a family farm and that is what farm families did to make a living.
Around 1987, Clarence, with brother Doug, started a manufacturing company building and designing drainage equipment for farm fields. The venture was very successful and gave them work during the winter months. In 1992, with two families (Clarence and Doug) working full time on the farm, it was thought best to split the farm. With Doug and his son Scott taking the egg production and some field crop business, Clarence, Brad and Jason would take the field crops and manufacturing company. Clarence, with his two sons, incorporated Persall Farms Ltd. in 1993 and began to build a very successful farm operation.