Outstanding Young Farmers named for 2009

Vegetable producers from P.E.I. farming about 150 acres, and a grain farming couple from Manitoba cropping about 13,000 acres, were named Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2009 at the national awards ceremony in Ottawa on Dec. 4.

Greg and Tania MacKenzie operated MacKenzie Produce at Stratford, P.E.I., southeast of Charlottetown. Grant and Colleen Dyck grow grains and oilseeds on Artel Farms at Niverville, Man., about 25 km south of Winnipeg, and have diversified into other business ventures. Both were selected winners from among seven regional nominees farming across the country.

The banquet and awards ceremony at Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier Hotel capped an week-long event for the regional nominees and OYF alumni.

The seven regional finalists, described as the “best and the brightest” of Canada’s young farmers, were selected in regional competitions earlier this year to represent their respective regions. Judges base their decisions on reviews of the finalists’ backgrounds as well as on the farmers’ presentations.

The MacKenzies and their three children produce more than three million pounds of cabbage and several other crops for processing, restaurants and farm-gate sales.

The Dycks and their three children grow grains, oilseeds and specialty crops and have also diversified into the wood recycling business. Wood Anchor processes cull elm trees into lumber and furniture. The Dycks have also recently launched production of a new food energy bar, The Great Gorp Project.

Other regional finalists in the 2009 competition included Monia Grenier and Dany Mayrand, dairy farmers from Wotton, Que.; Jason and Christina Pyke, bison producers from Wolfe Island, Ont.; Art and Elaine Pruim, dairy producers from Osler, Sask.; Geoff Hoar, a horse trainer from Innisfail, Alta; and Ian and Jennifer Woike, egg producers from Duncan, B.C.

— Lee Hart is the editor of the Cattleman’s Corner section of Grainews at Calgary. An earlier version of this article appeared last Saturday on his blog.

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