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James Simpson Celebrates 50 Years

James with Silk and Satin, 1956 Canterbury A & P Show

James with Silk and Satin, 1956 Canterbury A & P Show

Winning the Canterbury Goat Society Cup, with Southbridge Monique, at the Canterbury Dairy Goat Association’s annual club show last November was a special moment for James Simpson.

Goats have been a large part of James’ life longer than he can remember. In 1953, realising their son was allergic to cow’s milk, his parents bought their first goat, a Saanen/Feral cross, named Ruby. James has fond memories of one family holiday when Ruby was taken in a tea chest in the caravan from Southbridge to Nelson so that James could have the milk. His father realised that a good dairy goat would give a lot more milk and learning that Saanens were generally the most productive dairy breed in New Zealand, they bought their first registered Saanen, Selsey Nell from Overton’s at Lakeside.

One September day in 1956, James and his brother Louis were flying a kite when their Mum came running to tell them that Selsey Nell had just had twins. By the time the boys had retrieved the kite and run home the twins had become quadruplets!

James started his goat career later that year, with father Walter and his brother Louis. One of their earliest outings was the Canterbury A & P where they led Selsey Nell and her kids: Silk, Satin, Cotton, Rags, in the Grand Parade which was a much talked about event.

Living on just half an acre, the Simpsons were only able to keep a few goats at a time. Satin, Cotton and Rags went to new homes but Silk stayed behind and goats continued to be a part of James’ life, By 1963 he was showing on his own and in 1971, at the age of 21, he began his long career as a dairy goat judge. His father also started judging that year.

James with Judge Ray Messervey and Southbridge Monique

James with Judge Ray Messervey and Southbridge Monique, November 2009 at Canterbury Dairy Goat Breeders Assn Annual Show

James’ father and grandfather had Show award winning Tamworth pigs as a hobby at Milltown, just outside of Southbridge. In 1970 James purchased the farm and took up commercial pig farming with Large Whites and Landrace, James moved from Southbridge to Milltown, along with his goats, to a new home in 1978. He retired from pig farming in 2004. The goats however have remained a strong interest.

Over the years James has come to appreciate and enjoy his goats. “They are very easy to bond with due to their unique nature and they make a wonderful addition to a lifestyle block when one wants a productive animal. They respond affectionately to good husbandry and each has its own personality.” His involvement with goats has allowed him to meet a lot of interesting people and fellow breeders, and his judging and classifying have taken him all over the country.

And what happened to Southbridge Silk? In 1958, ’59 and ’63 she won the Stewart Dawson Cup for best Goat in Show at the Canterbury A & P and in1960 she won the same cup at the Canterbury Royal Show. She went on to live till eleven. In 1959 she also won the Canterbury Goat Society Cup for Champion Senior Doe, the very same cup James and Southbridge Monique won exactly fifty years later!

By Andrea Gauland

Copyright 2010