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Agriculture Family Profiles: The Marshall Family

Raising generations of grit and growth—how the Marshall family’s exemplary values helped build a strong agricultural business.

Meghan and Garnet Marshall, owner and operators of MGM Cattle Company, along with their three children. The Marshalls also help their parents, Ian and Karilynn with the operations of Marshall Farms.
Meghan and Garnet Marshall, owner and operators of MGM Cattle Company, along with their three children. The Marshalls also help their parents, Ian and Karilynn with the operations of Marshall Farms.

When it comes to multi-generational farms, there is a strong sense of family values, and the Marshall family is a perfect example.

 

Marshall Farms, a feedlot operation of about 10,000 cattle, is run with all hands on deck. Husband and wife duo, Ian and Karilynn Marshall, ranch with their three children in Bowden, Alberta. But the feedlot isn’t the only operation—all three of Ian and Karilynn’s children went on to make their own mark in agriculture.


“When we had our three kids and they wanted to get started in agriculture, we thought it was best that they each have their own business, their own cow herds, their own activities—but we'd still farm together,” Karilynn says.

 

Ian and Karilynn’s three children each ventured into their own cattle operations, resulting in the creation of Coulee Equine, 2M Land and Cattle, and MGM Cattle Company.

 

Garnet and Meghan Marshall, son and daughter-in-law, are the owners and operators of MGM Cattle Company.

 

“You are trying to build your own, but we all work together doing it, and we can’t be successful without each other’s help,” Meghan Marshall says.

 

“It's really intertwined in the sense that we have our own, but the feedlot is still our base.”

 

In the heart of Alberta’s countryside, the Marshall family's story is one woven with the fabric of agriculture. Although Marshall Farms was established in 1984, the family’s agriculture story dates back about 70 years with Ian’s father, Art Marshall, when he immigrated from Scotland. As the farm started to grow, Art and his wife, Helen Marshall, helped Ian build Marshall Farms.

 

Even with their separate endeavours, the Marshalls remain a tightly-knit unit—their operations intricately intertwined with the family feedlot. Together, they embody the essence of teamwork, working hand-in-hand to ensure the success of each enterprise.

 

“Growing our own business, it had its own struggles, but we had a great support system . . . [and] thirteen years later it’s all worked out well for us,” Meghan said.

 

With each passing generation, they impart agriculture knowledge and instill a deep-rooted passion for agriculture and strong family values.



Teaching values from generation to generation

Even with all hands on deck, running a large-scale feedlot and their own cattle operations is no walk in the park—but Garnet and Meghan know that the experiences on the farm are invaluable to their children.

“The kids play a huge part in it, and they’re able to see so many different parts of everything. See[ing] the work ethic—[they learn] that what you put into it is what you get out of it,” Meghan says.

“It’s such a rewarding thing when you’re going out in the middle of the night to help save a calf.”


Working the farms help teach their children the value of hard work without compromising time with their family.

 

“It’s a great lifestyle. It’s very demanding but also very flexible at the same time. You have to get your work done, but there’s still lots of time for your family and friends,” Garnet says.

 

For Ian and Karilynn, keeping strong family relations with one another was always important—just like Garnet and Meghan.

 

“When our kids were growing up, we always checked on the cattle and rode horses on Sundays. So having those Sundays together, [the family was] working, learning, and growing together,” Karilynn says.

 

“I see it in our kids’ families too—how they take their kids with them. They go riding, they’re checking pastures together, and I’m seeing a full circle come about. That our kids and their families are working and playing together . . . In my heart that’s really important,” Karilynn says.

 

Passing down the love and knowledge of agriculture has allowed their future generations to stay connected to its roots—but it can also help their grandchildren educate others on where their food comes from.


“Agriculture is so much more than what the urban person might see. That's what we're trying to teach the grandchildren moving forward. It's a quality product all across Canada that we can be proud of,” Karilynn says.

 

Ian added that agriculture is critical to the world and future generations. The value of agriculture education means people can be more connected to their food.

 

“It’s honestly the most important thing in the world. Without agriculture, people wouldn’t survive,” Ian says.

 

The Marshalls' story is a testament to the values of hard work and unity. As they continue to nurture their livestock and feed the world, the Marshall family stands as a shining example of the enduring spirit of agriculture with each generation building upon the legacy of the last.


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