The Weyburn Chamber of Commerce in southeast Saskatchewan didn’t let a little pandemic completely interrupt their plans to host an annual Farmer Appreciation Night this year. Rather than host a nice sit-down dinner in town that would draw farm families from surrounding Rural Municipalities, they did the next best thing under COVID-19 protocols and brought a few dinners out to the field.
One of the features of the annual farmer appreciation night, explains Monica Gilchrist with the Weyburn C of C is during the year to accept nominations from area producers for a Golden Sheaf Award. With criteria based on farm longevity, community involvement, professional involvement, innovation and stewardship, judges review the nominations and select one farm to receive the award ” In recognition of excellence in agricultural achievement.” They’ve been doing this for about 25 years.
“With the COVID-19 protocol we realized it wasn’t feasible to hold the annual Farmer Appreciation night dinner this year,” says Gilchrist. So they decided not to present a Golden Sheaf Award for 2020. Gilchrist along with Twila Walkeden, C of C executive director and Brooke Spagrud, C of C marketing co-ordinated came up with another option for recognizing farmers and that involved bringing a harvest dinner to the field for five of the previous Golden Sheaf Award winners.
The Welsh Kitchen in Weyburn did the cooking. Farms had their choice of either a turkey or roast beef dinner, and picking a date that worked the meal was brought to the field, as combines and trucks were parked and everyone socially distanced their chairs for a great dinner in the field. And in some cases were harvest done, the dinner was similarly staged in the farm shop.
Previous Golden Sheaf Award winners being recognized again with farm dinners included, Crow Lake Farms, Batrud Ag Commodities, Mayview Farms, Leguee Farms and Gaab Farms. On average dinners at each farm were served to between 20 and 25 people.
“Agriculture is an important industry to our community, so we wanted to express our appreciation to farmers in some way,” says Gilchrist. They are hoping things will be back to a more normal year in 2021 with the Golden Sheaf Award presented at a banquet.
The C of C and farmers a like, expressed their appreciation to sponsors who helped make the field dinners possible this year. That included Young’s Equipment, DC Construction, Westrum Lumber, MNP, FCC, South Country Equipment and Spectra Financial.