An entrepreneurial young grain farming couple from Manitoba and an innovative vegetable producing family from Prince Edward Island are Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2009.
Grant and Colleen Dyck of Niverville, Man., who grow grains and oilseeds on their 13,000 acre Artel Farms, and have diversified into other business ventures, along with Greg and Tania MacKenzie of Stratford P. E. I., who produce more than three million pounds of cabbage and other vegetables on their 150 acre MacKenzie Produce farm, 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 in early December for the regional nominees and OYF previous winners who gathered in the nation’s capital for the 29th annual event.
Also competing for the 2009 OYF honour were 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.
The seven regional finalists, who represent what is 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 in the 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 Dycks, and their three children, produce grain and oilseeds and other specialty crops. They have also diversified into the wood recycling business, Wood Anchor, processing cull elm trees into lumber and furniture. And early this year, they will launch production and marketing of a new food energy bar, The Great Gorp Project, which is made from many ingredients produced on their farm.
The MacKenzies and their three children produce cabbage and several other vegetable crops on their Charlottetown-area farm. They market their produce to processors, to restaurants and to a fresh market through farm-gate sales. With the construction of environment-controlled cold storage facilities, they are able to maintain a year-round supply of cole and root crops.