Today is #CdnAgDay, a day to celebrate the contributions of producers from across the country. Today we’ll share the stories of some of the farm families that make #cdnag great every day.
Through their hard work and dedication, the producers featured below – and all farm families – make Canada stronger by providing an abundant source of safe, high quality food.
Follow the links below to learn about some of the families recently highlighted in our weekly “On the Farm” features.
Career change both challenging and rewarding – Saskatchewan grain and cattle producer Jocelyn Velestuk describes her first six years in farming as a whirlwind of activity. “It’s been a wild ride,” says Velestuk, who farms with her husband and his parents near Broadview, Sask.
Young farmers get involved to shape policy – Resolving conflicts is a useful skill in all aspects of life. Whether you’re a manager of a fast-food restaurant or a mother of two daughters that fight about toys, clothes and everything else, you’ll likely be in the middle of a dispute or three.
Sask. farm diversifies into clothing business – Aaron Spence has created a home business that encapsulates four of her passions — farming, Saskatchewan, hockey and lake life. Her Dirt Road Collective online apparel and accessories company features eye-catching artwork, symbols, statements and phrases covering those four themes.
Success in the show ring seen as win for breed – In the four years since Twin View Livestock started appearing on purebred show lists, the Gelbvieh operation has established itself firmly in the championship category.
Better weather this winter eases calving stress – WESTLOCK, Alta. — Scott and Wendy Letts have their home farm on the original Letts family homestead northwest of Westlock, Alta., near the Pembina River. Family have been on this farm for more than 100 years, and cattle have been part of the farm all along.
Market vegetable farm thrives in Alberta – Janelle and Aaron Herbert have what they call the perfect storm for growing vegetables in Alberta.
Sask. cattle producers return to their roots – ARCOLA, Sask. — It all started with 4-H. At the age of eight, Randy James joined a local beef club. It was a fateful event that has taken him to cattle shows around the world.
Christmas light display brings cheer – MCLEAN, Sask. — The goal is simple. “I just want the lives of patients who stay in 1D (mental health unit) to be a little bit better,” says Ian Moats as he sits by a crackling outdoor fire on his expansive rural acreage surrounded by 55,000 Christmas lights.
Rural couple sells solar to prairie producers – RADVILLE, Sask.—Southern Saskatchewan gets more than 2,300 hours of sunlight per year, and as far as Shane Hunter is concerned, that’s a valuable resource that is going to waste.
Mustard focus keeps Alberta farmers hopping – There have been times when acres of blooming mustard decorated the fields at Luco Farms near Lethbridge. Those acres formed the basis of a business in prepared mustards that is now operated by the father and son team of Robert and Ben Luco.
Organic grain marketers flex global muscles – RADVILLE, Sask. — They run their hands appreciatively along the fur of the buffalo hide given to them by one of their grain contractors. While their organic grain marketing business is known worldwide, and is an economic success with 80 growers and 24 employees, it isn’t necessarily about any of that.
Solar energy helps power Sask. grain farm – ETHELTON, Sask. — Harvest never ends on the Stevenson farm. Once they’ve got crops from their 2,400-acre grain farm in the bins, they continue to harvest solar energy.
Obstacles no match for horse training family – KENDAL, Sask. — Obstacles have never stood in the way of success for the Quams and they’ve had their share of them.
Alberta fish farm reels in booming business – If you caught a rainbow or brown trout this year in Alberta, there’s a fair chance you have the Menard family to thank for it. They’ve turned the unlikely prospect of aquaculture on the Prairies into a business that employs up to seven people, says Max Menard of Smoky Trout Farm Ltd. near Red Deer.
Wild rice business takes family for wild ride – Larissa Muirhead has witnessed the wild side of the wild rice business. The venture started off with a bang in 2015 and 2016 when her family agreed to a share-cropping arrangement with the previous owner of the operation on Meeyomoot Lake in northern Saskatchewan.
Second generation prepares to run sod farm – It makes sense that land once covered in grass would produce good grass. Doug and Lois McGillivray took that chance in the 1990s to add value to their farm south of Regina, establishing a 500-acre sod farm amid their grain and oilseeds operation.
Garlic growers have no trouble selling crop – OFFRE, Alta. — In 2012, after years of living in Lacombe, Alta., and running several businesses, Mark and Brenda Visscher moved back to the farm where he was raised. They live on 4 1/2 acres of land that has been subdivided from the original base where Mark’s parents operated a mixed farm starting in the mid-1960s.
Family creates inroads to fledgling hops sector – RED DEER, Alta. — Through the spring and summer of 2018, curious drivers stopped almost daily to investigate the high steel pole and trellis structures set up alongside the road in central Alberta.
‘I’ve never missed a harvest in my whole life’ – ST. BRIEUX, Sask. — With 77 harvests under his belt, Lucien Fagnou keeps climbing the combine ladder. He’s working on number 78.
Sask. horse ranching family is born to ride – CORNING, Sask. — John King can’t put a number on how many horses he’s ridden over the years, but it’s a lot.
U-pick market garden focuses on education – Bawlf, Alta. — If children, parents and customers leave Lil Ryley Farms knowing a bit more about agriculture and food, that’s a win, says owner Kerri Giesbrecht.
Remote dairy farm grasps retail opportunities – CRESTON, B.C. — These dairy cows have it good. They graze on fresh organic grass every 12 hours. They are sheltered from blustery winds by a towering mountain range. They are milked on their own schedule. They don’t stand on concrete. And as newborn calves, they stay with their mothers for an extended period of time.
Family members gradually return to B.C. ranch – CRANBROOK, B.C. — Putting a fence post in the ground here isn’t easy. The bedrock that lies beneath most of the 10,400 acres of grazing land at Pine Butte Ranch is unforgiving, sometimes requiring A-frame posts to hold up the more than 80 kilometres of fence.
Alberta orchard not afraid of diversification – ELNORA, Alta. — Dave and Arden Delidais own and operate DNA Gardens. The 15-acre orchard is nestled into the rolling parklands of central Alberta, where the hills and valleys dotted with wetlands gradually give way to sprawling prairie.
Alberta family’s matriarch returns to the farm – CLIVE, Alta. — Louise Bell recently bought a quarter section of land at Clive and plans to move back to the farm, even though she’s reached an age where many people are slowing down. “I need a purpose in life,” said the 74-year-old.
Fresh Flavour Farm a year-round operation – NOBLEFORD, Alta. — At first, Andy Katoch’s reasons for starting a vegetable operation were selfish, he admits. But now his aquaponic operation in this southern Alberta town is supplying many with vegetables and serving as an example of how smaller operations on farms could provide sustainable income and stabilize vegetable supplies.
Oats become healthy answer for family farm – ABERNETHY, Sask. — Harvesting wheat always presented a problem for Scott and Teri Ruecker. Their two children, Paige, now 18, and Luke, 15, would get sick each fall. And Luke wasn’t growing like a six-year-old should.
Hard work keeps family grain farm afloat – WILLINGDON, Alta. – Ample rain hasn’t dampened the Porozni family’s optimistic outlook for harvest this year.
Sask. family makes the switch from cattle to sheep – SHAMROCK, Sask. – Not everyone gets a trial run at farming, but Liezel and Larry Kennedy knew before they expanded from 60 to 600 sheep how things would likely go.
Father and son focus on moving farm forward – STURGIS, Sask. — Education is a lifelong endeavour for a father and son focused on improving their soil health.