Business & Policy
St. Paul dairy farmers named 2014 Outstanding Young Farmers for Alberta
By Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ Program
Richard and Nicole Brousseau of Moo-Lait family farm are the 2014 Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) for the Alberta/NWT region. The young dairy farming couple, who operate the farm with Nicole's parents, will go on to represent Alberta/NWT at the Outstanding Young Farmers national event later this year in Quebec City.
Richard and Nicole are living their life-long dream to be farmers. Both raised on farms in the St. Paul area, they met at Lakeland College in Vermilion where they worked on the college-run farm and as college instructors. In 2006, they began working with Nicole's parents Bert and Yvonne Poulin on their dairy farm, while continuing to work off farm. In 2007, the farm was ready to support them full time, and Richard and Nicole continue to farm together with Nicole's parents, with each family owning their own cows and quota. Today, they own a 50 cow milk herd.
"Just as a successful farm business is about planning, so too is the process of getting into farming," says Jack Thomson, president of Canada's OYF program. "Richard and Nicole set their sights on continuing the farming tradition they were each born into, with their own family. And their dedication, commitment and passion for this industry is evident in the planned approach they set out for themselves, and are now living. Their story is the inspiration that our organization is built on and so proud to recognize."
Over the last six years, the Brousseaus have worked hard to improve their dairy herd, increasing cow numbers and milk production. They focus on soil and plant health as a means to achieve great animal and human health. Through technology and science, they are growing healthier crops and attribute six months of a mastitis-free herd to healthier soil.
And they have more big plans in the near future. In 2014, they moved their herd into a new 60-head capacity loose housing barn, attached to a new double-seven herringbone parlor. Expansion is in the works with a milk tank capacity for a 110-head herd.
Nicole rounds out the family's farm business with raising pasture poultry and a few hogs to serve a growing local demand.
Along with their three children, Ethan (10), Cassie (8) and Emery (6), the Brousseaus work to increase community awareness of agriculture hosting on-farm tours for local school groups to explain where milk comes from.
Celebrating 34 years of identifying great agricultural successes, 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.
Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers for 2014 will be chosen at the National Event in Quebec City, Quebec from November 26-30, 2014.