Curtis and Beverly Penner are 2009 winners of the Outstanding Service Award presented by the Manitoba Seed Growers’ Association (MSGA).
The award is presented annually to members of the MSGA who have made an outstanding contribution to pedigreed seed industry and are recognized as leaders in their community.
Curtis Penner started farming after graduating from high school in 1977 with rented land and then “jumped in with both feet by purchasing overpriced land with overpriced financing in 1980, and tried to pay for it by producing the farm’s first-ever pedigreed crop – Century peas,” MSGA vice-president Craig Riddell said.
Penner was a Farm Business Manager instructor at the University of Manitoba from 1981 to 1988, when the Penners’ seed plant was constructed. The first grain moved through it on Christmas Eve of that year.
After working 15 years as a dental assistant in Morden, Beverly Penner took over the growing seed businesses’ office duties in the mid-1990s.
As every seed producer knows, success does not necessarily follow successful production or even successful processing, Riddell said. “Pedigreed by Penner,” the name of the Penners’ business, has emphasized the “We Grow It We Know It” advantage that seed producers possess.
Demonstration plots, field trials, field signs, newsletters, website development, meetings, and generally making local agronomic information and results available all reinforce that the seed producer is the place to source the seed that will work best on the farm, Riddell said.
The Penners farm 5,000 acres, which supply the majority of pedigreed seed processed and retailed through Pedigreed by Penner.
Besides running the farm, operating the seed plant, and raising a family, the Penners have made time for community. In addition to sponsoring Farm Safety 4 Just Kids and local kids’ hockey and baseball teams, they’ve been active in leadership roles in their local church. [email protected]