Cal and Cathy Penner named Red River Ex farm family of the year

Dedication to their community and industry made the Penners the right choice, organizers say

Cal and Cathy Penner of Argyle, Man. are the 2016 Red River Ex farm family of the year.

The couple operates Calvern Farms, which features a 425-sow farrow-to-finish hog operation and wheat, canola, soybean and oat production on an owned and rented land base.

They join 50 other farm families in the province who have been similarly honoured since the award’s inception in 1966. The award celebrates farm families that “… continually enhance rural life for their families, neighbours and the Manitoba economy,” said Garth Rogerson, CEO of the Red River Exhibition Association.

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“The Penner family is an innovator and leader in Manitoba’s agricultural industry and personifies the qualities recognized by this title,” Rogerson said.

Cal’s parents, Vern and Martha, began farming in the Argyle area in 1970 with a half section of land and a few hogs. Calvern Farms was formed when Cal and Cathy joined the operation. The family’s third generation arrived in 1997 with the birth of Cal and Cathy’s daughter Nikki and was bolstered by the arrival of son Eric in 1999.

The entire family has contributed to the operation and the agriculture industry in Manitoba.

Vern was involved in the creation of the Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP), assisting in the initial creation of the organization. He also served an appointment to the Farm Debt Review Board. During his tenure, he participated in over 60 cases.

Cathy works in the farrowing barn and maintains the accounts for the farm.

Cal has been actively involved in the Manitoba hog industry for almost 20 years, and is on the board of Manitoba Pork and is the group’s representative to KAP.

Both Cal and Cathy are very involved with their Winnipeg church and are quick to lend a hand to help other families during seeding and harvest when the need arises, and have been supporters of the South Interlake chapter of the Children’s Wish Foundation.

For recreation, they’re ardent supporters of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Flying is also a family passion with Nikki, Vern and Cal all holding pilot’s licences.

“The Penner family stood out in the selection process,” said Morris Deveson, who led the selection committee. “Their passion for what they do, their dedication to the community and their combined commitment to production excellence and running a diversified farming operation, make them a deserving fit for this award.”

The members of the Penner family will be officially acknowledged at a reception held in their honour on Monday, June 20 as part of the 2016 Red River Ex.

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