P.E.I., Man. couples named Outstanding Young Farmers

The two couples named Canada’s Outstanding young farmers for 2014 congratulate each other at award ceremonies held in Quebec City. From left, Heidi and Andrew Lawless share the honors with Myron and Jill Krahn. (Lee Hart photo)

After a year-long nationwide competition, a P.E.I. couple in a potato growing and processing partnership, and a Manitoba couple building a seed growing and seed retailing business, are Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2014.

Andrew and Heidi Lawless of Kinkora, P.E.I., both part of a partnership producing about 1,200 acres of potatoes, and Myron and Jill Krahn, who crop about 3,000 acres of grains, oilseeds and special crops near Carman, Man., were selected national winners from among regional finalists from across Canada.

The national awards competition, held in Quebec City last week, wrapped up with an awards banquet Friday at Quebec City Convention Centre.

The Lawless and Krahn farm families were selected from a field of seven regional OYF finalists, selected during the year by their provinces or territories to participate in the national awards event.

Farming operations among the finalists ranged from a 15-acre organic market garden operation near Vancouver to a 10,000 acre ranching operation in Saskatchewan and an Aryshire dairy and hog finishing operation in Quebec.

Selecting two winners was a difficult decision, said Brian Newcombe, an OYF alumnus and one of three national judges who interviewed regional nominees and reviewed their farming operations as part of the judging process.

Newcombe, a former OYF president and a mixed farmer from Port William, N.S., was joined on the judging panel by Patrice Carle of the Farm Management Expertise Centre (CEGA) in Quebec, and by Tom Guebert, a senior manager with CIBC.

Along with the Krahn and Lawless families, other regional nominees for 2014 included:

  • Jason and Amanda O’Connell, Carleton Place, Ont. (dairy/cash crop producers);
  • Bruno Soucy and Hélène St-Pierre, Saint-Édouard-de-Lotbinière, Que. (dairy/pork/cash crop producers);
  • Aaron and Adrienne Ivey, Ituna, Sask. (mixed cattle and grain producers);
  • Richard and Nicole Brousseau, St. Paul, Alta. (dairy producers); and
  • Lydia Ryall, Delta, B.C. (mixed vegetable producer).

Celebrating 34 years, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers who exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the contributions of agriculture.

The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer CropScience and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The national media sponsor is Annex Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.

— Lee Hart is the Cattleman’s Corner editor of Grainews in Calgary. Follow him @hartattacks on Twitter.

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