Alberta and Nova Scotia couples earn 2013 Outstanding Young Farmers titles

Farm couples representing Alberta and Nova Scotia were proclaimed Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2013 at a ceremony Nov. 15 held in conjunction with Agribition in Regina.

Alberta farmers Michael Kalisvaart and Karen Jansen joined James and Amanda Kinsman of Nova Scotia in sharing the top prize.

Kalisvaart and Jansen, who began farming in the early 1990s, own Kalco Farms, an 11,000-acre grain and oilseed farm at Gibbons, Alta. Michael is also chairman of Providence Grain, a farmer-owned, independent grain company the couple has heavily invested in, and which has grown from two elevators to five, plus four agro-retail locations in the past decade.

Parents of three children ages 17, 14 and 11, Kalisvaart and Jansen were chosen by judges as an outstanding farm couple for their investment in local infrastructure, strong industry partnerships and adoption of ‘lean management’ principles to ensure highly efficient work processes on their farm. Michael is the second generation of his family to farm in Canada. His parents emigrated from the Netherlands to begin a mixed hog and grain farm here.

James and Amanda Kinsman run Windcrest Farm, a dairy and cash crop farming operation near Berkwick, Nova Scotia. James took over the farm early in his life after his father became unable to continue, meeting not only that considerable challenge, but going on to expand the farm into a larger operation.

Parents of two-year-old twin daughters, the Kinsmans today milk 190 purebred registered Holsteins while cropping 2,000 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and growing haylage for their cows. Windcrest Farm has received other industry awards over the years for farm productivity that has tripled in the last 20 years.

This is the 33rd year of the Outstanding Young Farmer awards, given annually to Canadian farmers under 40 who derive a minimum of two-thirds of their income from their farm operations.

Manitoba’s provincial winners at this year’s OYF event were Tyler and Dorelle Fulton, who run a cow-calf operation at Birtle. The couple has operated their farm as a joint venture with Tyler’s parents these past six years, and balance their 450-cow beef herd with a backgrounding beef lot and hay export business. The Fultons have five-year-old twins and are active community volunteers with the local school and library boards.

Honourees at both provincial and national levels are chosen for the progress made during their farming career in areas such as conservation practices, production history, financial and management practices and community contributions. The awards have been presented annually since 1980 when the program was launched by the Canadian Junior Chamber/Jaycees.

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