Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers regional nominees have been announced and the national event is set to take place December 2 and 3.

The program recognizes farmers between 18 and 39 from any area of agriculture, with a few criteria.

Carla Kaeding, COYF program manager, says that outstanding young farmers are people that excel in agriculture, show progress in their ag career, are environmental stewards, share their production history, financial and management practices, and contribute to their community and the country.

Each year one farmer or farming couple is selected from each of the program’s seven regional events to represent their respective region to a panel of judges. Out of those seven, two are selected as Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers. (Story continues below player)

Farm size is not part of the criteria — Kaeding says that the program has had farm sizes from about five acres all the way to 47,000 acres — but two-thirds of the income must come from the farm, and farmers must be the primary managers.

Regional nominees give a presentation at the national event, which should be like a photo essay of  their operations.

“We get to find out where they were, what they are doing, and where they plan to be in the future,” says Kaeding. “You get a sneak peek into what their production techniques are and what they excel in.”

Judges will look at nominees’ stewardship, production history, and financials as part of a 15-page package that nominees fill out. Then, there will be three different interviews to go over that package.

The regional award winners are:

  • Raymond and Tracey Bredenhof, of Abbotsford, B.C. for the B.C. and Yukon;
  • Roelof and Mary van Benthem, of Spruceview, Alta. for the Alberta and N.W.T.;
  • Michael and Jessica Lovich, of Balgonie, Sask.;
  • Andre and Katie Steppler, of Miami, Man.;
  • Jenny Butcher and Wes Kuntz, of Brantford, Ont.;
  • Genvieve Grossenbacher and Jim Thompson, of Lochaber-partie-ouest, Que.; and
  • Philip and Katie Keddy, of Lakeville, N.S.

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