After a stressful week of being at their best everyone could finally relax late last Friday as two farm couples from Alberta and
Atlantic Canada were named winners of the national Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers award in Regina, Sask.
Grain and oilseed producers Michael Kalisvaart and his wife Karen Jansen from Gibbons, Alberta and dairy farmers James and Amanda Kinsman of Berwick, Nova Scotia were selected from a field of seven regional nominees to receive the 33rd annual award.
The nominees selected during regional competitions throughout the year, meet for four days of final judging at the national event, which alternates between East and West Canadian locations. Although the national competition was originally held in Regina annually as part of Western Canadian Agribition, this was the first time the event had been back in Regina in 15 years.
It is a tough job for the national judges to select only two winners from the strong field of leading young Canadian farmers. Handling the final selection of the two finalists were Gord Nystuen, vice president of market development with Input Capital Corp in Saskatchewan, Richard Robert, a dairy producer from northwestern Quebec and Richard Stamp, a pedigree seed producer and former OYF winner from Enchant in southern Alberta.
Kalisvaart and Jansen, along with family members, operate the 10,000 grain and oilseed Kalco Farms which has grown steadily since it was started in the mid-1990s, just northeast of Edmonton.
The Kinsmans along with their two young children, operate a 190 head purebred Holstein dairy and produce forages and cash crops on about 1,800 acres as Windcrest Farms in the Annapolis Valley.
Other 2013 regional nominees include Luc Gervais and his wife Kim Brunelle, dairy farmers from Herouxville, Quebec; Dana and Adam Thatcher, who operate a mixed livestock and country meat market near Guelph, Ontario; Tyler and Dorelle Fulton, who operate a cow-calf beef and backgrounding operation at Birtle Manitoba; Chad and Darlene Krikau, grain and oilseed producers near Waldheim, Sask.; and Troy and Sara Harker, who operate an organic fruit and vegetable operation and fruit winery at Cawston, B.C.
The annual award recognizes young farm couples for their business management, farm management, environmental stewardship and community leadership skills. The OYF program is sponsored nationally by Bayer Crop Science, John Deere, Agriculture Canada and CIBC.
Along with selecting Canada’s outstanding young farmers, the event also honored a long-time OYF supporter with the W.R.
Motherwell leadership award.
Kim McConnell, of Calgary, former CEO of AdFarm an agriculture marketing and communications company was presented with the award that recognizes “exemplary dedication to the Outstanding Young Farmers of Canada Program. The individual assumes a leadership role as a dedicated initiator and promoter of the OYF Program.”
The award named after a Canadian pioneer who served as both Saskatchewan and federal minister of agriculture from 1905 to 1929, recognizes the recipient as “someone who has unselfishly given of their time and talents to promote the value of excellence, advancement, opportunity and exchange within Canadian agriculture.”
McConnell who was born and raised on a Manitoba farm, launched Fieldstone Marketing in 1984 which later became AdFarm and today is one of the largest agricultural marketing communications firms in North America. Although he stepped down as AdFarm CEO in 2007, he continues his long-time support of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer Program.
Over the years, McConnell has led many national and international brand and marketing assignments for many respected companies including Farm Credit Canada, Dow AgroSciences, RBC Royal Bank, Agrium and Canada Beef Inc.