Drew and Kenleigh Pasay are among the four nominees for the award
By Diego Flammini
Two young Alberta farmers are still processing being finalists for the province’s Outstanding Young Farmers award.
“I don’t think it’s fully sunk in yet. I’m still a little bit stunned,” said Kenleigh Pasay, co-owner of Bentgrove Farm in Redwater, Alta.
“There are so many amazing agricultural operations and farmers in Alberta, so for people to think we fit the bill, we are absolutely honoured,” said Drew Pasay, Kenleigh’s wife and co-owner of the farm.
The Pasay family (Outstanding Young Farmers photo).
The Pasays are among four farmers and families up for the award, which recognizes farmers between the ages of 18 and 39.
Part of the regional competition, scheduled for Aug. 2 and 3, at Olds College, will require the Pasays and other nominees to make presentations about their operations, progress, community involvement and more.
What makes Bentgrove Farm unique, Kenleigh says, is the farm’s diversified livestock.
“Other than hay we don’t really do any cropping,” he said. “But we have commercial cows, direct marketing cows, we have sheep, pigs and broiler chickens. We’ve got four or five different enterprises.”
The farm is also exploring agritourism.
The Pasays participated in Alberta Open Farm Days in 2022 for the first time and are planning to do so again this year.
In addition, they are looking at other potential revenue streams related to tourism, Drew said.
“We’re dipping our toes into it,” she said. “Alberta Open Farm Days was great, we hosted a day camp and we did some field trips. I also found an app called FarmZee, which is like a booking app for farm tours. “It’s always very rewarding to show people where their food comes from, so we’re weighing the pros and cons and seeing how much we want to dedicate to tourism opportunities.”
In addition to the Pasays, the four nominees represent mushroom production, grain production and other ag industries.
The nominated farmers from across the country show that agriculture isn’t just crops and livestock anymore, Drew said.
Whomever wins the Alberta regional event will move on to the national competition in Quebec in November.
An Alberta farm family last took home a national prize in 2018.
That honour went to Craig and Jinel Ference from Kurriemuir, Alta. That year they shared the national award with Jordan and Alex McKay from Port Perry, Ont.