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Saskatchewan and Quebec couples win national OYF honors

After a week of competition, the suspense is over. A young
wine making couple from Saskatchewan and two young dedicated sheep producers
from Quebec have been named Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2012. 

At a gala dinner in downtown Charlottetown, PEI, Friday Nov.
30, Vance Lester and Susan Echlin, who operate a 

Quebe OYFDSC_0020.jpg

successful fruit winery near
Saskatoon, and Martin Brodeur Choquette and Johanne Cameron, a young Quebec
couple who have built up a flock of 1,200 sheep on their farm near St.
Hyacinth, were selected from a field of seven regional nominees as the national

winners.(Photo at right, Quebec OYFs Johanne Cameron and Martin Brodeur Choquette, centre, are shown with George Webster, PEI ag minister at left, and Pierre Lemieux, parliamentary secretary for federal agriculture minister at right.) 

Lester and Echlin, have been building their award winning
Living Sky Winery at Perdue, Sask. since 2005. While Choquette and Cameron both
began building their respective sheep flocks in their teens and early 20s and
combined their love of farming and agricultural skills when they met in 2004.
Today they operate a successful lamb and purebred sheep farm — Les Bergeries
Marovine — at St-Charles-sur-Richelieu.

While it sounds like a warn out phrase “it really is a
difficult decision” to select only two from a field of excellent candidates,
says Rick Thiessen, an OYF alumni winner from Abbottsford, B.C. who along with
OYF alumni Alan Bryson of Quebec, and former PEI premier Pat Binns were judges

for the 2012 competition. (Photo at left, Saskatchewan OYFs Vance Lester and Susan Echlin, centre are shown with George Webster, PEI ag minister at left, and Pierre Lemieux, parliamentary secretary for federal agriculture minister at right.) 

Sask OYFDSC_0017.jpg

The two national winners are selected from a field of seven
regional OYF nominees selected earlier this year. Along with the Saskatchewan
and Quebec producers, other regional nominees for 2012, include Peter and
Nicole Tuytel, dairy producers from Chilliwack, B.C.; Robert and Angela
Semeniuk, grain farmers from Smoky Lake, Alta; Dustin Williams and Laura
McDougald-Williams grain farmers from Souris, Man.; Cory and Heidi Van
Groningen, beef producers from Cayuga, Ont.; and Mark and Sally Bernard,
organic grain and livestock producers from Freetown, PEI.

The 2012 event was the first time the national OYF awards
ceremony was held in PEI  in its 32
year history. Next year awards will be hosted by the Saskatchewan regional OYF
committee and will be held in conjunction with Canadian Western Agribition
livestock show in Regina in mid November.

Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or
by email at
[email protected]



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