B.C. and Alberta farmers named Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers for 2023

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Greg and Sarah Stamp from Stamp Seeds, of Enchant, Alta., and Brad and Travis Hopcott from Hopcott Farms, of Pitt Meadows, B.C. were chosen as the national winners of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) Program.

The national event was held at Laval, Que., over the weekend, and featured the seven regional farm finalists.

STAMP SEEDS

What began as a partnership with Greg’s parents in 2006 has become three separate operations run by Greg and his brothers — Nathan and Matthew. The operations include Stamp Seeds (retail pedigreed seed), Stamp Farms (production of pedigreed seed for retail and contracts) and Flourish Farms (crop land).

Stamp Seeds, run by Greg and Sarah, produces pedigreed seed on 7,000 acres, 5,000 of which is produced under irrigation. In the beginning, custom work helped cash flow, but growing contract seed for others allowed Greg and Sarah to expand the retail seed business and build a customer base. Although minimum till was being practiced on the farm, they created management zones and now use benchmark soil sampling to better manage soil fertility. On-farm field days, newsletters, and social media help to build awareness of the varieties produced. Sarah has been instrumental in developing management and succession plans to allow all the families to farm together.

HOPCOTT FARMS

What began as a dairy farm started by their grandfather is now a 1,000 head beef feedlot with forage production, an on-farm abattoir, 72-acre cranberry farm, and a 17,000 sq. ft. retail store and wedding venue run by Brad and Travis. Brad is in charge of the beef, Travis is in charge of the cranberries, and their sister Jennifer runs the retail and wedding venue.

Recently, the farm has renovated 20 per cent of their cranberry acres introducing new varieties to double production. A water reservoir system allows the 30 million gallons of water to be recycled in the cranberry bogs during the harvest season. To allow for full integration of the beef operation, a $5 million abattoir was added to the operation in 2022. Utilizing waste tissue, composting units allows for the integration of animal waste back into the forage fields. Having receiving support through the management transition, Brad and Travis hope to return the favour and mentor future B.C. farmers.

Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers brings recognition to outstanding farmers in Canada between 18 and 39 years of age who have exemplified excellence in their profession while fostering better urban-rural relations.

The winners were chosen from seven regional finalists, including the following honourees from the other five regions:

Rémi Taillon & Sophie Brodeur – Ferme Réso – Sainte-Dominque, Que.

Stewart Skinner & Jessica Kelly – Imani Farms Ltd – Listowel, Ont.

Jake & Sarah Leguee – Leguee Farms Ltd – Weyburn, Sask.

Harley & Brooklyn Siemens – Siemens Farms – Rosenort, Man.

Marijke Oudshoon & Willem van de Wetering – Spud Isle Farms – Morell, PEI

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