Vegetable producers from P.E.I. farming about 150 acres, and a grain farming couple from Manitoba cropping about 13,000 acres were named Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2009 at the national awards ceremony in Ottawa last night.
Greg and Tania MacKenzie of Stratford P.E.I., who own MacKenzie Produce and Grant and Colleen Dyck of Niverville, MB who grow grains and oilseeds on Artel Farms, and have diversified into other business ventures, were selected winners from among seven regional nominees from across the country.
The gala banquet and awards ceremony at Ottawa’s famed Chateau Laurier Hotel capped an activity filled week for the regional nominees and OYF alumni (previous winners) who gathered in the nation’s capital for the 29th annual event.
The seven regional finalists, who represent what was often described as the “best and the brightest” of Canada’s progressive, enthusiastic, business and community-minded young farmers were selected in regional competitions earlier this year to represent their respective areas.
After reviewing their backgrounds and hearing presentations, judges were faced with the difficult task of selecting two of the regional finalists as Canada’s outstanding young farmers.
The MacKenzies and their three children, produce more than three million pounds of cabbage and several other crops on their Charlottetown-area farm marketed for processing, restaurants and farm-gate sales.
The Dycks, and their three children, produce grain and oilseeds and other specialty crops on Artel Farms. They have also diversified into the wood recycling business, Wood Anchor, processing cull elm trees into lumber and furniture, and have just launched production of a new food energy bar, The Great Gorp Project.
Other regional finalists in the 2009 competition included Monia Grenier and Dany Mayrand, dairy farmers from Wotton, Quebec; Jason and Christina Pyke, bison producers from Wolfe Island, Ontario; Art and Elaine Pruim, dairy producers from Osler, Sask.; Geoff Hoar, a horse trainer from Innisfail, Alta; and Ian and Jennifer Woike, egg producers from Duncan, B.C.