GFM Network News


More than a year after being named Alberta’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2020, Mary and Roelof van Bentham finally got to meet some of their OYF colleagues when they hosted a potluck at their farm earlier this month.

It’s a great network — even when you can’t meet in person

Last year’s Outstanding Young Farmers eager to finally get into the swing of things

Reading Time: 4 minutes Mary and Roelof van Bentham were looking forward to a year of learning and creating connections when they were named Outstanding Young Farmers for Alberta. But just over a month later, COVID-19 hit. “That’s one of the things that made the pandemic really hard — we’ve had a hard time connecting with this group that […] Read more

CIBC’s Kevin Van Bussel (left) presents the trophy to Outstanding Young Farmers Roelof and Mary van Benthem of Spruceview.

Dairy producers thrilled to join ‘amazing’ Outstanding Young Farmers family

Reading Time: 3 minutes This year’s Outstanding Young Farmers were a little apprehensive when their bank manager first introduced them to the program two years ago. “At first, we were hesitant because we didn’t know what it was,” said Mary van Benthem, who operates a dairy farm near Spruceview with husband Roelof. “But after coming in and learning about […] Read more


Natasha Pospisil and Dallas Vert, alongside judge Tom Terrill of CIBC, are this year’s 
Alberta Outstanding Young Farmers.

East-central Alberta couple named Outstanding Young Farmers

Reading Time: 3 minutes This year’s Outstanding Young Farmers weren’t expecting a win when they were nominated alongside three other Alberta farm families at the Outstanding Young Farmers’ regional event in early February. “In the beginning, we didn’t think we were anything too special. We just do what we do,” said Natasha Pospisil, who owns and operates three agricultural […] Read more

From left to right: This year’s Outstanding Young Farmers finalists Roelof and Mary van Benthem; 
winning couple Jinel and Craig Ference; and Celeste and Craig Christensen.

Outstanding Young Farmer got an early start

Giving young people a chance to learn and grow has become a tradition on Double F Farms

Reading Time: 5 minutes Passing the torch to the next generation is often the greatest challenge faced by farm families. But the way the Ference family met that challenge is a big reason why Craig and Jinel Ference were recently named co-winners of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer award. “It was such an interesting group because we’re all in different […] Read more


Marc and Hinke Therrien, chosen as Alberta’s Outstanding Young Farmers this month, will compete for the national title in November. 

Poultry farmers named Alberta’s Outstanding Young Farmers

Reading Time: < 1 minute Redwater poultry farmers Marc and Hinke Therrien are this year’s Outstanding Young Farmers for Alberta. The couple started their agriculture careers in the feed industry and Marc worked at a large broiler farm in order to gain hands-on farming experience. In 2012, they were offered the opportunity to run Pine Valley Family Farm, where they […] Read more

Kristen and Shane Schooten with their children Gracen and Berkley.

Challenge equals opportunity for Outstanding Young Farmers

Reading Time: 3 minutes Schooten and Sons is one busy place. The Lethbridge-area operation has four feed yards with a combined 40,000-head capacity; 6,300 acres of crops and pasture; a 300-head cattle herd; custom farming business; trucking company; composting operation; and 35 employees. It’s a big change from the smaller, single feedlot that Shane, Cody, and Justin Schooten grew […] Read more


Banff was the site of this year’s Outstanding Young Farmers event. From left to right are Shane and Kristin Schooten, Marc and Hinke Therrien, and Martin and Gaylene Van de Poi (with children Alex and Emily).

Diamond City couple newest Outstanding Young Farmers

Reading Time: 2 minutes Two city kids and a 32-year-old with nearly two decades of farming under his belt were among the entrants vying to be Alberta’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2016. In the end, Shane and Kristin Schooten were selected to represent the province in the national event, which will be held in Niagara Falls in November. Kristin, […] Read more

The Outstanding Young Farmers program has been “nothing but a blessing” for her family, said Tara Sawyer, who won the 2011 award with husband Matt.

Outstanding Young Farmers creates cross-country connections

Reading Time: 2 minutes It can be tough to find your fit as an up-and-coming farmer — that’s where Outstanding Young Farmers comes in. “I always looked at Outstanding Young Farmers as a graduate program for people past 4-H,” said regional chairperson Steven Snider. “This is a great place for that generation to connect across all sectors.” The 35-year-old […] Read more


people in a dairy barn with dairy cattle

People make the difference in Outstanding Young Farmer program

Participants say the chance to connect with innovative farmers is at 
the heart of the program that showcases producers under the age of 40


Reading Time: 3 minutes There’s been a changing of the guard, but last year’s winners are still pumped about their experience as the province’s Outstanding Young Farmers and their trip to the finals in Quebec City in November. “Phenomenal is the best word I can find,” said Nicole Brousseau, who operates Moo-Lait Family Farms with husband Richard near St. […] Read more

farm family in a barn

Ponoka dairy goat producers newest Outstanding Young Farmers

Cherylynn and Patrick Bos have 
become the dominant Alberta supplier 
of goat milk products

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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 […] Read more