Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers names 2019 national winners
Justin and Laura Rogers of Brae, P.E.I. and Simon Michaud and Mylène Bourque of Kamouraska, Que. were chosen as national winners from seven regional farmers at Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) Program’s national event held last week in Fredericton, N.B.
“It’s so easy in Canadian Agriculture to have the ‘wow’ factor revolve around size and scale of operations. In our program it’s way down the list and our chosen honourees have proven that once again this year. Incredible passion, business acumen, the ability to change on a dime, and taking really tough scenarios and not only surviving them but turning them into real successes. This is the real ‘wow’. This is what makes our farmers ‘outstanding,'” said Steve Cooper, incoming chair of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program, about the winners.
Justin and Laura Rogers are seventh generation farmers who operate Picturesque Farms, a mixed farm that grows pedigreed seed, forages and beef cattle. Justin’s love for agriculture began when he purchased his first heifer at age eight and his first tractor at 13. Picturesque Farms requires feasibility studies or business plans for all major projects or investments while their pedigreed seed business relies on ongoing communication with local customers. In 2020, thanks to Dairy Farmers’ P.E.I. New Entrant Program, they will be converting their 75 head beef cattle sector to a dairy operation. Family values and community are important to Justin and Laura.
Prior to taking over the management of the fifth generation dairy farm Simon Michaud tried many things. Mylène Bourque always knew she loved agriculture so it was an easy decision to follow her heart and join Simon in Ferme Règika Inc. They built a free stall barn in 2005. The build proved to be their biggest challenge. After some struggles and some changes they increased their average milk production per cow from 9,500 kilograms (kg) to 10,600 kg. Ferme Règika Inc. is located in the heart of the tourist village of Kamouraska so Simon and Mylène are often invited to take part in discussions on the coexistence of agriculture and tourism. Mylène and Simon plan to diversify into potatoes as part of their succession plan.
Every year the OYF event brings recognition to 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:
- Dallas Vert and Natasha Pospisil, Conquest Agro Services Ltd, Kirriemuir, Alta.
- Will and Jen Bergmann, Bergmann Bros, Glenlea, Man.
- James and Cammy Lockwood, Lockwood Farms, Cobble Hill, B.C.
- Jason Ranger, Jaran Farms Ltd, Shellbrook, Sask.
- Jan and Jony Roos, Roos Dairy Goats Ltd, Brownsville, Ont.