A Manitoba farm couple that built a seed-retailing business on their Carman-area farm have been named Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2014.
Myron and Jill Krahn, who grow 3,000 acres of grains, oilseeds and special crops and started a seed dealership five years ago, were presented with the national award along with potato producers Andrew and Heidi Lawless of P.E.I.
For 34 years the Canada-wide competition has presented the award to two farm couples under age 40 judged on the basis of progress made in their farming career. Each year, one couple from seven regional events is sent to the national competition.
Judges told the Krahns it was their combined passion for farming and participation in community life that impressed them.
The couple took over Myron’s parents’ farm near Carman in 2003 and today grow corn, soybeans, canola, and cereal grains. They also produce seed for native grasses, cereal grains and soybeans. In 2009, they began their seed dealership for corn seed, later adding soybean and cereal seed to the offering, plus an on-site seed-treating system to complement the growing business.
“We want to be continually more productive with what we have,” Myron Krahn said.
“The vision we’ve set for ourselves at this point in our career is to continue growing the farm to increase profitability. A big part of our focus right now is our seed-retailing business. ”
The couple has two daughters, Cadence, 10, and Keira, eight, and place a high priority on attending, volunteering and sponsoring community events. Myron chairs the Manitoba Corn Growers Association and is a director on the Pembina Consumers Co-op board.
Krahn said the message OYF participants hope this program sends to all young farmers is to have plans, set goals, stay focused, and persevere.
“There’s going to be ups and downs, absolutely, but if you’re young and have a passion for it, you’ll stick through those times because you know that there’s potential,” he said.
Eligible nominees for the OYF program must derive a minimum of two-thirds of their income from their farm operations.
Other national participants in the 2014 event held in Quebec City in late November included dairy and cash crop producers Jason and Amanda O’Connell of Carleton Place, Ontario, dairy and pork producers Bruno Soucy and Hélène St-Pierre of Saint-Édouard-de-Lotbinière, Quebec, mixed cattle and grain farmers Aaron and Adrienne Ivey of Ituna, Saskatchewan, dairy producers Richard and Nicole Brousseau of St. Paul, Alberta and mixed vegetable producer Lydia Ryall, of Delta, B.C.
Seven farm couples from Manitoba have now been recognized as outstanding Canadian farmers.
Grant and Colleen Dyck of Niverville were national winners in 2009 as were Melvin and Elaine Penner of Altona in 1997, David and Lori Faurschou of Portage la Prairie in 1995, Don and Diane Guilford of Clearwater in 1989 and David and Judith Jeffries of Portage la Prairie in 1988. Glen and Marilyn Gurr of Alexander were honoured as national winners at the OYF’s inaugural event in 1980.
The program is maintained by the continued participation of alumni and sponsorship from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Bayer CropScience, CIBC and John Deere Limited. The program’s national media sponsor is Annex Media. It is also supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.