Ag advocacy helped launch Andre and Katie Steppler of Miami into the limelight last week after the pair was named to this year’s Manitoba Outstanding Young Farmer award.
Why it matters: Andre and Katie Steppler have won the regional Outstanding Young Farmer Award and will now make their bid for the national title against winners from the other seven regions of Canada.
The award, given to farmers between 18 and 39 years old who show excellence, is decided annually by a three-judge panel. Judges choose a winner based on their farm progress, environmental stewardship, production history, farm management, and contributions to their community, province and nation.
“This year, one of the things from comments made from the judges was they were interested to know how the couples advocated for agriculture,” Angela Fox of the Outstanding Young Farmers program said. “I think that was a determining factor as well this year.”
“Ultimately, I think the competition was very close this year,” she added. “and I think the work (the Stepplers) are doing nationally and provincially played a big roll in the deciding factor for them this year.”
Andre Steppler is a familiar face around the agricultural circles of social media. His posts and videos, usually filmed in the field or the cab of his truck as he highlights some aspect of his purebred Charolais operation, have gained Steppler a following on both Facebook and Twitter.
The pair have also gained a reputation in the show ring. Their cattle commonly feature in the winner’s circle at events ranging from 4-H and Brandon’s Ag Ex to national shows. In 2017, Steppler Farms took home the national title for reserve champion junior female, a show that Andre Steppler helped bring to Manitoba as part of the 2017 National Show Committee. The farm had already won a national title in 2014 for reserve grand champion female.
Andre Steppler is also commonly called to speak and industry conferences or to fill the judges seat at shows ranging from local shows to Edmonton’s FarmFair International.
The farm’s actions to support the next generation have also pricked people’s interest. Also in 2017, Steppler Farms donated a raffle heifer calf that ultimately raised $18,000 for the Canadian Youth Charolais Association conference, slated for Manitoba the following year.
At the time, the cattle show’s organizer, Shannon Carvey, remarked that the gesture was, “unbelievable the way these guys donate their money and time towards supporting the youth.”
The Stepplers will now be headed to the national Outstanding Young Farmer competition in Saskatoon in December.