Seven farm families are vying for the national crown
By Diego Flammini
Seven farm families from across the country will meet in Laval, Que., later this month and attempt to earn a national title.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers is hosting its national event from Nov. 23 to 26 to celebrate producers between the ages of 18 and 39 and select a national winner.
Farms.com spoke with multiple regional winners throughout the year.
Carrying Manitoba’s flag into the competition is Harley and Brooklynn Siemens.
The husband-and-wife duo from Rosenort own and operate Siemens Farms, a 95,000 layer and 15,000 pullet operation.
During the regional competition, Harley discussed the farm’s full revamp.
“We renovated four barns in four years,” he told Farms.com. “We’re allowing (our flock) to have more space to move around and engage in their natural behaviour. We’re getting the same production, but this is about better animal welfare, and that’s the kind of agriculture we want to be in.”
Representing Alberta in the national event is Greg and Sarah Stamp.
Greg and Sarah are second-generation grain producers on the Enchant, Alta., operation, which includes 5,000 irrigated acres and 2,000 dryland acres where they produce pedigreed seed like wheat, barley, faba beans and peas.
Though he’s approaching 20 years of involvement on the family farm, the industry continues to excite Greg.
“The reason I get excited about something new is because I think our customers are going to like it because we’re providing value to them and helping them solve a challenge on their farm,” he told Farms.com in an interview.
Marijke Oudshoon and Willem van de Wetering, potato farmers from Morell, P.E.I, are representing Atlantic Canada.
The farmers grew up on dairy farms in Holland before their families moved to Ontario in 1999 and 2007, respectively.
In 2017 and with zero knowledge of how to grow potatoes, the couple decided to move east to pursue their farming dreams.
“We had travelled out east for holidays and were inspired by what we saw,” Willem told Farms.com. “We started to look at what the farm market was like, and that’s what got the ball rolling. It was clear it was more affordable to get started out east.”
The Hopcott family will represent B.C. during the national competition.
The family’s third generation, represented by Travis, Jenn and Brad, run different divisions of Hopcott Farms in Pitt Meadows, B.C.
The family’s primary business is the feedlot, where they raise about 1,000 head of cattle per year.
But the operation also includes 70 acres of cranberry bogs for Ocean Spray, agritourism opportunities, adding on-farm retail space and opening an on-site abattoir in 2022.
They touched on the farm’s continued evolution during the regional competition.
“We focused on all the moving parts that we have,” Travis told Farms.com. “We touched on our family history and talked about what makes us outstanding. We talked about the different parts of the operation we oversee, how we manage the culture in our workforce and the community impact we’re able to have.”
The other national finalists are:
Farmers from Saskatchewan and Quebec shared the national title in 2022.
Cody Straza and Allison Squires of Upland Organics in Wood Mountain, Sask., and brothers Étienne and Guillaume Lessard from Ferme Holdream, a dairy, pork and maple farm in Saint-Honoré-de-Shenley, Que., took home that year’s honour.