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Ontario Outstanding Young Farmer nomination deadline approaching

Ontario Outstanding Young Farmer nomination deadline approaching

Nominations need to be submitted by Jan. 15

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

The nomination window for the 2018 Ontario Outstanding Young Farmer (OOYF) award closes in a little more than a month.

The contest is open to farmers, between the ages of 18 and 39, whose farms contribute about two-thirds of their income.

Applications received by the Jan. 15 deadline will be reviewed by a panel of judges consisting of past OOYF winners.

Selected finalists will be required to make a presentation to the judges, who will be watching closely, says Christina Pyke, co-chair of the OOYF program and grain farmer from near Kingston, Ont.

“The program recognizes excellence in the Ontario agricultural sector,” she told today. “We really look for progressive young farmers who also strive to make a difference in their communities. There are a number of criteria they are judged on, including how well they’ve grown and prospered as their farm has grown.”

The top six finalists will compete at next fall’s Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show. The winner will be Ontario’s representative at the national competition, which is scheduled to take place in Winnipeg, Man. next November.

There are many benefits to participating in the OOYF program, according to Pyke.

 “When my husband and I were nominated (in 2009), we weren’t aware of (the program),” Pyke said. “So this program is a great opportunity to raise awareness about OOYF and also to engage in conversations with people who may not be from farms.”

Another benefit of participating in the OOYF and COYF competitions is the networking opportunities.

Meeting with fellow producers in your province or across Canada is a great way to learn about what Canada’s farming community is up to, Pyke said.

“It’s amazing to rekindle friendships from the past and meet new friends as well,” she said. “You make these relationships that stay with you for a lifetime. It’s just fantastic.”

Top photo: Christina and Jason Pyke

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