A southern Alberta couple has been recognized with an award for their overall commitment to bettering the agriculture industry, and their ongoing support for an organization that recognizes the achievements of some of the most progressive young farmers in the country.
Richard and Marian Stamp, who along with family members operate Stamp Seeds farm at Enchant, southeast of Calgary were named recipients of the W.R. Motherwell Award which is presented to “an individual or couple that has shown exemplary dedication” to the Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) of Canada Program and also have “unselfishly given of their time and talents to promote the value of excellence, advancement, opportunity and exchange within Canadian agriculture.”
The award is named after W.R. Motherwell, a western Canadian pioneer who became the first minister of agriculture in Saskatchewan in 1905 and later also served from 1921 to 1929 as a federal minister of agriculture.
The Stamps, who are first generation farmers on their land just on the edge of Enchant, began commercial crop production 35 years ago and then switched to pedigreed seed production about 30 years ago.
Today along with their three sons, Greg, Nathan, and Mathew and their respective families, they produce and market seed from a wide range of crops including hard red spring wheat, soft wheat, durum, fababeans, malt and feed barley, peas, flax, corn and canola. The Stamps also have a daughter Aimee, who farms with her husband and son at Foremost, southeast of Lethbridge.
Richard and Marian Stamp were named Alberta’s Outstanding Young Farmers in 1998 and went on to win the national OYF award (west) that year along with Edwin and Dawn Jewell of York, P.E.I. (east). But since then the Stamps have continued to be steadfast supporters of the regional and national OYF organizations. Marian has been involved with the provincial/regional awards program for the past 16 years, and at the national level Richard served as vice-president, then president and also as past president for a total of eight years.
“Marian and I can not express our sincere gratitude and thanks for being thought of and then selected for this award,” said Richard at the award presentation in Quebec City in late November. “For the past 35 years we have strived to build a strong family and a business with a solid reputation and foundation. Today we are so blessed to have the opportunity to work with all three of our sons and their families.
Stamp says their involvement with OYF over the years has been invaluable not only in terms of personal relationships, but also in terms of connecting with a national network of business mentors and advisors.
“Probably the greatest value of being involved with OYF has been the opportunity to get to know so many progressive, positive and leading edge people across the whole agriculture industry,” says Stamp, during an interview at the farm office. “Through this program we meet not only a bunch of bright farmers, but bankers, farm machinery company reps, ag chemical company reps, politicians, and a host of other business types we normally wouldn’t have had the chance to get to know.”
While their farm business has had many good years, Stamp says there have also been some very tight years due to high interest rates, low markets, or a sudden shift in market demand — and they learned how to weather those storms.
“Being involved with this program has given us the confidence to know that we can do things, there are people we can trust, and we just have to try,” he says. “We have a tremendous network of people who we can and have called upon to talk about business issues open and honestly, which has helped us to learn and adapt.”
Some of the key pillars of life that he and Marian believe in, include:
- Find a passion for what you love to do.
- Have courage to just do it.
- Always have an attitude of hope.
- Thirst to always learn more, each and every day.
- Never fail to dream, about what can be done.
- Always be very thankful.