Donn and Sylvia Mitchell were married in 1959 and settled on land homesteaded by Donn’s grandparents. There, they established Klondike Farms, with its outstanding herd of Registered Polled Herefords.
Over the years they exported semen, embryos, and cattle to the global livestock industry. They travelled to many countries in their promotion of quality animals, and in some of these places, Donn performed as a cattle judge.
One of the unique aspects of their combined activities is their electronic system for farm record keeping. Donn’s experience in meticulous record-keeping, matched with Sylvia’s training in accounting, have provided a great combination. Their five year cropping program includes input costs, revenues, and nutrient soil analyses. Also recorded are the genetic history and the generation pedigrees of every cow and bull and their offspring. The system of electronic record-keeping developed at Klondike Farms became a model for the industry. The Mitchells were among the first couples to enrol in the beef cattle Record of Performance program; Klondike Farms was a founding partner in Bar-Five Simmental and the Shilo Farms Irrigation Project.
Both Donn and Sylvia are outstanding volunteers,and they share their talents with others.Each of them is known as a popular speaker at farm association meetings. Sylvia has served as an International Officer of Quota International; Chairperson of the Wheat Belt Community Futures; Vice-President of the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame; Life Member of the Women’s Institute. Among the honours bestowed upon her are the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, and her designation as a Notable Farm Woman by Farm Woman News. Donn served as; founding President, Douglas Sire Indexing Centre (the first of its kind in Canada); a member of the first Canadian Wheat Board Advisory Committee; a member of the Western Grain Stabilization Advisory Board; a member of the boards of Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba, Canada Western Agribition, Keystone Centre, and Royal Manitoba Winter Fair. Among his awards are: Mr. Manitoba Farmer; membership on the Honour Roll Canadian Hereford Association; Honourary Member of the Agricultural Institute of Canada; designation as Manitoba’s Premier Beef Producer. Both Donn and Sylvia were awarded Manitoba 125th Anniversary Commemorative Medals.
Donn and Sylvia Mitchell have provided unmatched leadership to agriculture and rural life. Their combined record is one of improving quality production, showing exemplary neighbourliness, providing leadership in electronic farm accounting, and being truly helpful in their involvement with many farm organizations.