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2013 Outstanding Young Farmers named

Nov. 19, 2013, Ancaster, ON – Grain farmers Michael Kalisvaart and his wife, Karen Jansen, from Gibbons, Alberta, along with dairy farmers James and Amanda Kinsman from Berwick, Nova Scotia are Canada's 2013 Outstanding Young Farmers. These latest farm family winners were chosen from seven regional farm couples across Canada, at the OYF annual national event held recently in Regina, Sask.

OYF's latest ambassadors for Canadian agriculture both followed in their parents' footsteps into farming. Michael Kalisvaart shadowed his father on the first generation hog and grain farm his parents started after immigrating to Canada from the Netherlands in the late 1970s. James Kinsman joined the family farm in 2001, working with his father before taking over management and eventually ownership of the family dairy operation.

"Every year, OYF has the unique opportunity to showcase Canadian farm families that exemplify the spirit and innovation that drives this industry" says OYF President Derek Janzen. "This year's winners demonstrate the successful insights gleaned from previous generations, and the innovative outlook to move their business and the agricultural industry ahead. Michael Kalisvaart, Karen Jansen and the Kinsmans are tremendous examples of progressive agriculture at work."

Growing up watching his parents got Michael Kalisvaart hooked on farming. His involvement grew as the family farm did, and today, Michael and Karen own and operate Kalco Farms, an 11,000-acre commercial grain production enterprise. Continuous learning plays an important role in Michael's operation, with courses in leadership, management, human resources, crisis management and business planning adding to the farm's business success. In 2002, Michael and Karen founded Share the Harvest, a local project to raise funds for the Canadian Food Grains Bank.

Ever since taking over the family farm, James and Amanda Kinsman had focused their efforts on efficiency, high milk production and growth in their dairy herd. In the last five years, they have doubled the size of their dairy operation, milking 190 Holstein cows three times a day, and farming 2,000 acres at their Windcrest Farm Ltd. A stagnant dairy quota market inspired the Kinsmans to branch into grain farming, making use of the same equipment for feed production as they use for the dairy. In 2011, the couple was honoured as the 10-year recipients of the Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia Excellence Award.

Michael Kalisvaart and Karen Jansen from Alberta, and James and Amanda Kinsman from Nova Scotia were chosen from the seven 2013 regional finalists – that included the following honourees from the other five regions – Luc Gervais and Kim Brunelle (Quebec region), Dana and Adam Thatcher (Ontario region), Tyler and Dorelle Fulton (Manitoba region), Chad and Charlene Krikau (Saskatchewan region), and Troy and Sara Harker (British Columbia, Yukon region). All of whom are examples of excellence and innovation in Canada's young farmers.

Completing its 33nd year, 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. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income 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 CIBC, John Deere, Bayer CropScience and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and supported nationally by AdFarm and Farm Management Canada.