Richard and Kristy-Layne own a dairy and beef farm in Marchand, Man.
By Diego Flammini
Farmers from Marchand, Man., are Manitoba’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2022.
Richard and Kristy-Layne Carr, owners of Rich Lane Farms, a dairy and beef operation, received the honour during the Manitoba regional event in Brandon last week.
“We were really humbled and grateful because the other farmers who were nominated with had amazing operations and stories to tell as well," Kristy-Layne told Farms.com.
The Carr family also includes their four children: Slade (14), Elora (11), and twins Nate & Isabel (9).
The Carrs story is one of starting a farm from scratch.
Richard and Kristy-Layne grew up on dairy and diversified operations, respectively.
Richard worked on a dairy farm for about 12 years for Jan and Tracy Bassa, winners of Manitoba’s Outstanding Young Farmers in 2010.
Richard and Kristy-Layne’s families experienced divorce at young ages, leaving the aspiring farmers without home operations to take over.
In 2006, Kristy-Layne brought beef cattle from her 4-H days from Portage La Prairie to La Broquerie. The couple started as a hobby farm while working full-time off farm, eventually expanding the beef herd to 250 head and farming more than 1,000 acres.
But the Carrs decided to make a change when it was evident their current farm wasn’t financially viable.
“We ended up selling off a lot of land, most of the beef herd and getting into dairy,” Richard told Farms.com.
In 2018 the Carrs were chosen for the Dairy Farmers of Manitoba New Entrant Program.
The pair had to come up with a comprehensive business plan in the hopes of receiving an interview.
“You’ve got to lay out a five-year financial plan with how you’re going to do production, all the environmental stuff and more,” Kristy-Layne said. “Then you submit your application, and a committee looks through them and decides who they want to bring in for the interview process.”
The interview process was tough, she added.
Today, the Carrs milk 55 Holstein cows in a double eight parlour. The milk cows are housed in a straw pack barn and the youngstock are raised outdoors.
In addition to 60 Black Angus beef cows, Richard and Kristy-Layne grow their own feed. Crops include silage corn, alfalfa, millet, forage oats and ryegrass.
Richard and Kristy-Layne are also active on social media through their Facebook page, Twitter account and the YouTube channel they started in 2021.
The couple started the channel, titled The Big Small Farmer, to give viewers a glance into their lives.
Videos include discussions about herd health, weaning beef calves and spring seeding.
“We want to explain why farmers do the things they do,” Richard said.
“In today’s world, a vast majority of people aren’t connected to farms at all,” Kristy-Layne said. “The channel is a way to make a personal connection, to show that we’re real people and we deal with the same things other families deal with. There’s a lot of different kinds of farms, ours is just one of them.”
With this award, the Carrs will represent Manitoba at the national event in Saskatchewan with other regional winners in November.
Gurpreet Lidder, a fruit farmer from Keremeos, B.C., is British Columbia’s representative.
And Ben Campbell, a rancher from Black Diamond, Alta., will represent Alberta.