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Atlantic region hosts 2012 OYF event

Some of the brightest young minds of the Canadian agriculture industry will be meeting in Charlottetown, P.E.I., later this month as regional nominees from across Canada gather for the national awards event to select Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers.

The seven regional finalists, representing all parts of the country and a wide range of farming enterprises, will gather November 27 in Charlottetown, as the Atlantic Canada OYF region hosts this year’s event.

Regional finalists for 2012 include: Mark and Sally Bernard, organic grain growers from Freetown, P.E.I.; Martin Brodeur Choquette and Johanne Cameron, sheep producers who farm near St. Hyacinthe, Que.; Cory and Heidi Van Groningen of Cayuga, Ont., beef producers involved in a family-run pasture-to-plate operation; Dustin and Laura Williams, grain and oilseed producers at Souris, Man.; Sue Echlin and Vance Lester, who operate a winery near Saskatoon, Sask.; Robert and Angela Semeniuk, grain and oilseed producers from Smoky Lake, Alta.; and Peter and Nicole Tuytel, dairy farmers near Chilliwack, B.C.

After four days of presentations and interviews, local tours and socializing with each other as well as OYF alumni, two of the regional nominees will be named as Outstanding Young Farmers for 2012 at the awards ceremony, Friday, Nov. 30.

The OYF program was established in the United States in 1954, and was introduced in Canada in 1979. The first national awards event was held in 1980. Each year, regional OYF organizations select regional finalists who then compete in the national competition. The program is designed to recognize young farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession. Nominees must be between the ages of 18 and 39, and derive at least two-thirds of their income from farming.

A panel of leading agricultural industry judges will evaluate the regional nominees on five key areas — progress made during their farming career; maximum utilization of soil, water and energy conservation practices; crop and livestock production history; financial and management practices; and contributions to the community.

Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program is backed by four national sponsors — Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Bayer CropScience, CIBC and John Deere. These partners provide vital resources to run the program. As well OYF also receives support from AdFarm and Farm Management Canada. †

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