Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program promotes excellence in Agriculture.
Each year, one farming couple is selected from each of the program’s seven Regional Recognition Events to represent their respective region at the National Recognition Event.
This year's National Event is being held this week in Saskatoon, with the final awards and recognition ceremony scheduled for Friday night.
COYF Program Manager Carla Kaeding is a previous participant and says the program is great and really allows you to take a close look at your operation.
"We focus on producers that are the up and coming, movers and shakers in the ag industry. So it's anybody that's 18 to 39 that will be competing. derive two thirds of their income from their farm and are the managers or the decision makers of the operation"
This year's Regional honourees include:
- British Columbia's - Raymond and Tracey Bredenhof - R & T Poultry and Bredenhof Hops in Abbotsford, BC. A 40,000 broiler per cycle operation & the largest distributor of Canadian grown hops.
- Alberta's - Roelof and Mary van Benthem - dairy producers from Red Deer County
- Saskatchewan's - Michael & Jessica Lovich - raised on dairy farms in Alberta, the couple moved their family to Balgonie to develope their own dairy operation.
- Manitoba's - Andrea and Katie Steppler from Miami - Andree oversees the 1250 head cattle division of Steppler Farms Ltd - a multigenerational farm.
- Ontario's - Jenny Butcher and Wes Kuntz of Little Brown Cow Dairy - they began processing 100% of their milk after buying quota & opened the "Local Food Emporium".
- Quebec's - Geneviève Grossenbacher & James Thompson of Notre Petite Ferme - a diversified organic vegetable and dairy farm
- Atlantic Canada - Philip & Katie Keddy - the 110 ac strawberry nursery plant & 60 a sweet potato farm in NS is run with Philip’s parents.
Under the program, the seven honourees are recognized for their achievements and judged using the following criteria:
-Progress made during their farming career
-Maximum use of soil, water and energy conservation practices
-Crop and livestock production history
-Financial and management practices
-Contributions to the well-being of the community, province and nation