Potato and grain farmers from the Carman area are Manitoba’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2016. Jason and Laura Kehler were announced as the award winners at a banquet in Winnipeg on Feb. 27.
“We were definitely honoured to showcase our farm and our efforts, and it’s definitely a real honour to win,” says Jason, shortly after he and his wife received their plaque.
They were among three nominated couples who made short presentations about their farm during the banquet, discussing operation size, farm evolution, and passion. For the Kehlers, a lot of the passion on their farm focused around family, as they discussed work from past generations, and hope for their two children in the future.
“I think any parent would just rejoice in seeing their young kids put a seed in the ground and watch it grow or watch a calf be born,” says Laura Kehler. “It teaches them so many life lessons that you cannot explain in words. And just seeing their faces is all the reward that a parent would ever need.”
Judging criteria was based on qualities like environmental stewardship, management practices, and community and provincial contribution. For the Kehlers, part of that social contribution is what they do with research plots of potatoes on their land.
“We don’t have a lot to do with the research plots per say, but we’re co-operators,” Jason Kehler explains. “Obviously they grow potatoes in the plots, and usually it’s about three acres. So what do is we don’t take any money for the plot, they don’t pay us for the land, but my caveat on them using our land is we harvest the potatoes — don’t waste them — and we bag them and we load them up and then we haul them all into the city to the soup kitchens.”
Kehler says because he’s lucky to live life in relative peace, it’s important to give back to those less fortunate.
The Kehlers will represent Manitoba at the national competition for Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers, which will take place this November in Niagara Falls.
For more information, visit Pembina Valley online.