The Manitoba government has launched a new Heritage Farms designation in celebration of farm families who have maintained continuous production for 125 or more years. The first family to receive a sign from Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Stan Struthers was Betty and Walter Heaman who farm northwest of Virden.
“Families like the Heamans who have successfully maintained their farms from generation to generation have contributed significantly to the stability of rural life, rural communities and economic growth in the province,” said Struthers. “These families have witnessed and experienced first hand the evolution of farming in our province, surviving the tough times and celebrating the good times.”
Betty’s great-grandparents homesteaded the or iginal property in 1882 starting with a quarter section of land. A second quarter section was added under her father’s ownership.
Since her marriage to Walter, the farm has grown to include 6,500 acres, where the family grows wheat, oats, barley, canola, flax and peas.
They also have a few feeder yearlings and operate a pedigreed seed-cleaning business. The family has also grown to include three sons: Doug, Bob and Ken and their families. Doug’s children Jason, Brittany and Quinton; Bob’s children Krystle and Aidan; and Ken’s son Brett also help on the farm.
“Farming is all we’ve ever done. We kept the farm because we like the lifestyle and when you are your own boss you get to make your own choices,” said Betty. “As our children and grandchildren have come to appreciate the land, we are confident that this next generation will continue on the tradition of farming.”
Approximately 500 families in Manitoba qualify for the Heritage Farm designation as they have maintained a farm within their family for at least 125 consecutive years.
To date, more than 1,500 farms have already been recognized for reaching a century of operations.