Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers kicks off this week

Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers kicks off this week
Nov 23, 2022

National winners will be announced on Nov. 25

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The Canadian ag industry is a couple days away from finding out who the 2022 Canadian Outstanding Young Farmers are.

Attendees of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers (COYF) festivities in Saskatoon, Sask. will learn who the winners are on Friday during a banquet.

The competition recognizes farmers between the ages of 18 and 39 who exemplify excellence in their profession and promote agriculture.

"It's always fun to see these young and upcoming farmers/producers come in and share their stories,” Carla Kaeding, the COYF’s program manager, said in a statement. “It's just amazing how they're trying new technology, doing new environmental plans to create sustainability and move agriculture forward. "

Throughout the year, connected with some regional winners about their accomplishments and the excitement heading into the national competition.

Representing British Columbia is Gurpreet Lidder.

A fruit farmer from Keremeos, B.C., Lidder runs an 80-acre fruit farm and uses precision agriculture to ensure the health and production of his orchard.

He uses soil, leaf and fruit tests to paint a comprehensive picture of what’s going on in the field. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work, he said.

Cody Straza and Allison Squires are representing Saskatchewan in the competition.

The couple from Wood Mountain, Sask. raise livestock and organic grains on more than 8,000 acres of land.

Squires has a Ph.D. in toxicology from the University of Saskatchewan and promotes the organic industry through on-farm research.

Straza received an agricultural and bioresource engineering degree from the U of S and implements principles he learned in university on his farm.

Moving further east, Richard and Kristy-Layne Carr of Marchand, Man. will carry Manitoba’s flag into the national competition.

The farmers started out as a beef operation but ended up selling land and most of their beef herd to enter the dairy sector.

Dave and Jenn VanDeVelde will represent Ontario during the COYF competition.

The owners and operators of Wholesome Pickins Market and Bakery in Delhi, Ont., facilitated changes on the farm, which has been in Dave’s family since 1930.

In 2006, the couple decided to begin producing fruit and in 2007 grew their first ever-bearing strawberry crop.

The other regional winners are:

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