Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) program is again making the point this November in Manitoba — that good farm operators are good farm operators whether it be producing pasture-pigs in B.C., grain, cattle or bison on the Prairies, or seed potatoes in New Brunswick. It’s all about hard work, good management and commitment to the industry.
Never mind coping with the weather and markets — the owners and operators of seven well run Canadian farm enterprises will have their nerves put to the real test later this month as the finalists of OYF regional competitions will meet at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 to compete for national recognition as Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2018.
Now marking it’s 38th year as an awards program, COYF recognizes the efforts and accomplishments of young producers — some who have started their operations from scratch, to others who are charting their own course in multi-generation farm businesses. Aiming to follow in the footsteps of the 2017 COYF winners, Veronique Bouchard and Francois Handfield of Quebec and Derek and Tannis Axten of Saskatchewan, the 2018 regional winners from east to west include:
Representing the Atlantic Region, Robert Anderson and Jill Ebbert of Glassville New Brunswick, whose main enterprise is producing seed potatoes. From Warwick, Quebec are Philippe Laurendeau and Kristina Roake who have devoted much of the past eight years building a dairy herd. From Port Perry, Ontario, brothers Jordan and Alex McKay and their respective families have developed a fruit, vegetable and meat, field-to-retail operation.
Brooks and Jen White are Manitoba’s nominees operating a mixed bison and grain operation near Pierson. Jordan and Jennifer Lindgren from Norquay, Sask., run a large grain and oilseed farm.
From Alberta, Craig and Jinel Ference operate a large grain and livestock operation near Kirremur, while from B.C. Tyler MacNaughton and Sacha Bentall have developed a pasture-to-plate pork, beef and lamb operation near the southeastern B.C. community of Fort Steele.
Along with 2018 regional nominees and their families, the national event also brings together about 150 OYF alumni — regional and national winners from previous years — for socializing, networking and seeing the sites of the host province.
Regional nominees meet to present details of their farming operations to a panel of judges during the week before making final presentations to alumni and guests Friday morning, with winners announced at the OYF banquet Friday night.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.