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Alberta farmers honoured with 2014 W.R. Motherwell Award

Jan. 5, 2015 - Alberta pedigreed seed growers Marian and Richard Stamp were recently awarded the W.R. Motherwell Award by Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) program at the organization's national event in Quebec City. The annual award recognizes outstanding service to an individual or couple dedicated to Canada's OYF program.

The Stamps, who own and operate Stamp's Select Seed at Enchant, Alta., began their involvement with the OYF program in 1998 as regional winners for the Alberta/NWT Region. Over the years, they have lent their time and talents to numerous roles at the provincial and national levels.

"Rick and Marion have been the backbone of the Alberta OYF program for more than 10 years, sharing their time, expertise and passion for agriculture to strengthen the entire OYF program," says Luanne Lynn, vice president (west) for Canada's OYF program. "They used their regional OYF recognition as a jumping off point to years of giving back to future participants in the OYF program. And it's particularly fitting that Richard and Marian receive the W.R. Motherwell award this year, as they were instrumental in researching the award's namesake and developing the original criteria."

Rick began his farming career when he sold his hot rod car and bought two quarter sections of land with the help of a beginning farmer's loan in 1978. Within a few years, he and Marion were married and achieved "select seed grower" status. Since then, they have produced and marketed a wide array of certified seed crops including wheat, barley, durum, faba beans, flax and hybrid canola. And for more than 30 years, Marian also worked part time as a teacher.

Rick and Marian have been dedicated OYF volunteers ever since their regional win in 1998. They joined OYF as advisors in 1999 and have been active on regional, provincial and national levels ever since. Marian spent much of her efforts at the regional level. And Rick was elected to the national board in 2004 and spent eight years building and directing the national program into the program we have today.

Marian's work at the regional level began in 1999 on the nomination committee. And over the next few decades, Marian was hosting committee chair, on sponsorship committee, secretary, board advisor, and local coordinator when the national event was held in Alberta in 2008. She and Rick were also co-chairs for the OYF Alberta/NWT region for two years.

Rick's work on the national board began as 2nd vice president where he worked, along with Marian's help, to standardize regional and national nomination forms to improve the criteria for judging regional honourees at the annual national event. As national OYF president in 2008 and 2009, Richard worked on the organization's national brand and presence, national sponsorship program and built a program to support 4-H Canada.

Dr. Motherwell – the namesake of the W.R. Motherwell Award – was born near Perth, Ont., in 1860. His leadership in Canadian agriculture spanned more than 50 years and he is regarded by many as the "grand old man of Canadian agriculture." His career highlights include minister of agriculture in Saskatchewan's first provincial government, and minister of agriculture for Canada in the 1920s. Having attending agricultural college in Guelph, Ont., his move to Saskatchewan resulted in his instrumental role in establishing the agriculture facility at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Motherwell died in 1943 at the age of 83.

Celebrating 34 years, 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. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.