Hog and cash crop producers Stewart Skinner and Jessica Kelly, of Imani Farms Ltd. in Listowel, Ontario, have been named Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2023 as part of Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' Program.
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.
It is open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, with the majority of income coming 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 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, CIBC, John Deere, Bayer, Sollio Agriculture, and CN, with media sponsors.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2023 will be chosen at a national event to be held in Laval, Québec, November 22–26, 2023.
Stewart and Jessica met at an Ontario Pork Congress event. They both have had agricultural-related careers and completed their master's degrees from the University of Guelph. In 2015, Jessica and Stewart began their farm operation after taking over part of Stewart’s family farm.
Imani Farms produces 25,000 hogs for conventional and niche markets. The hogs are produced in three different systems: conventionally, certified humane, and certified organic. They also work 167 acres for cash crops. Stewart and Jessica’s innovative approach to human resource management, their 15 employees, and their finances have helped grow their operation to what it is today.
In their spare time, Stewart writes for Ontario newspapers, while Jessica enjoys working with Ontario Farm Market farmers. Stewart is also a strong advocate for mental health.
The Ontario Region of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program was pleased and proud to have two diverse and impressive operations at the 2023 Regional Event. The nominees recognized were:
- Stewart Skinner and Jessica Kelly, Imani Farms Ltd., Listowel;
- Derek and Jen Van Dieten, Van Dieten Dairy Farms, Seaforth.
President of the National OYF board, Danny Penner, said: "It was so exciting to take part in Ontario’s Regional Event hosted by alumni Adam and Dana Thatcher in their new event centre on their farm just outside of Guelph. The evening was well attended by sponsors, alumni, family, and friends. Hog producers Stewart Skinner and Jessica Kelly of Imani Farms shared with us a great presentation. They will make a fantastic addition to the 2023 National Event in Laval."Source : Oyfcanada