No-till farmers Derek and Tannis Axten of Minton, Sask., were named the 2017 Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) for the Saskatchewan Region at the annual awards event held in conjunction with Canada’s Farm Progress Show on June 22.
Derek and Tannis are third generation owners of Axten Farms along with their children Kate & Brock. After becoming frustrated with their depleted soils, they sought out innovative ideas to improve their farm, specifically by investigating how soil functions and the biology of soil.
The Saskatchewan OYF region were pleased to have Honourable Lyle Stewart, Minister of Agriculture, bring greetings to the large number of attendees at the Thursday awards luncheon held at the new Mosaic Stadium. “The Axten’s along with Terry & Lichelle Aberhart of Langenburg were outstanding finalists this year” said Luanne Lynn Canada OYF Chair. “They were both so passionate about their successful, farming operations. Derek & Tannis are an exceptional choice for Saskatchewan’s Outstanding Young Farmers and will represent Saskatchewan well at the national event this December.”
After completing a diploma in farm & ranch management, Derek came home to take over the family farm and together, with Tannis’ background in Education, specifically biology, they began to research how they should or could farm differently. With a renewed passion, they began to focus on soil health and regenerating their farmland.
To improve their greatest resource “the soil” they have introduced intercrops, companion crops and cover crops as well as controlled traffic farming and grazing. These new techniques have reduced synthetic inputs, increased water retention, and built up organic matter.
Both Derek and Tannis are excited to continue researching and sharing their passion for new ways of improving soil health when they are not involved in the local 4-H club, swimming pool board or volunteer fire department.
Celebrating 37 years, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.
Source : Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program