Ponoka dairy goat producers Cherylynn and Patrick Bos are this year’s Outstanding Young Farmers from Alberta.
“It was just really great to meet a group of people that was so optimistic and upbeat about farming,” said Cherylynn Bos.
“We just really hope to build some lifelong relationships and friendships with those people.”
Meeting the other candidates and past winners was a “refreshing” experience, added Patrick Bos.
“Their attitude rubs off and keeps you stimulated in what you’re doing,” he said. “Sometimes when you work so hard you feel all alone in the world. Then when you meet other people who are just like you, (it’s like), ‘Great I have a group of peers that can mentor us or be friends with.’”
The couple began farming 17 years ago, purchasing their first milking goats in 1999 and began milking for a Ponoka-based processing company. In 2004 the plant closed, which led to the couple building a goat milk- and cheese-processing facility on the farm. Rock Ridge Dairy is now the dominant Alberta supplier of goat milk products and works with a B.C. dairy company to produce goat milk and cheese products from their own herd and that of four other area farms.
Products from Rock Ridge Dairy are sold to major grocery chains across Western Canada under various labels such as Oak Island and Happy Days Brands. The dairy also produces organic cow’s milk and creams. (A feature profile of the couple will be in the next edition of Alberta Farmer.)
The other candidates for this year’s OYF title were grain producers Randy and Tasha Alexander of Grimshaw and Kurt and Becky Pederson, who produce purebred Black Angus cattle and grain near Edgerton.
The national Outstanding Young Farmer event will be held in Edmonton in November.
— with files from Dianne Finstad