Super Farms Potato Ltd of Saint-André was named the 2015-2016 McCain Champion Potato Grower for Grand Falls during the 42nd annual McCain Growers’ Banquet held Aug. 23 at Centre E.& P. Sénéchal. Almost 200 guests gathered to celebrate the top growers and their achievements.
Allison McCain, Chairman of McCain Foods Limited, Dale McCarthy, VP Integrated Supply Chain NA, and Christine Wentworth, VP Agriculture NA were on hand to extend personal congratulations to Super Farms Potato Ltd. and all of the McCain growers.
In his address to the group, McCain said he is “excited about agriculture, and particularly our agriculture.”
“Potatoes in particular are an important crop in Canada, and they are a big export crop. The industry, including ourselves here in Canada, is built on export. Sixty per cent of what we produce is exported either to the U.S. or elsewhere and we’re up against some pretty big competitors in the U.S. and in Europe.”
“But I am optimistic about what can happen here,” he stated. “Potatoes are a driver of jobs and prosperity and we are particularly poised for great success in New Brunswick.”
“I am proud to be here tonight to recognize that and celebrate the hard work and success of each of our growers.”
All speakers expressed their appreciation to the hard-working and dedicated growers gathered at the event.
Master of ceremonies for the evening was Luc Côté, Field Department Manager. Nathalie Leclerc, Potato Buyer/Scheduler, announced the Top 10 winners. Other McCain personnel on hand to congratulate the growers included Stephen McCain, Managing Director, McCain Produce, David Good, Director of Agriculture, Supplier Relations NA, French Fry Plant Manager Andrew Jay, and Field Representative Josée Bernard.
Other special guests included Kevin McCully, Director, Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, Marcel Deschenes, Grand Falls Mayor, France Roussel, Drummond Mayor, Allain Desjardins, Saint-André Mayor and Miss Grand Falls, Maithe Lavoie.
Jean-Guy Levesque, with sons Jules and Luc, and grandson, André were completely surprised when announced as the Champion Grower, receiving a trophy, a $1,000 cheque and an all-expense-paid trip for two to a destination of choice.
The Levesque family has been contracting with McCain for 43 years, has been in the Top 10 13 times, but this was their first time winning the Champion Grower title.
Luc Levesque attributed their success to “working very hard” and his partner, Hugette Michaud, said they “always put their heart into it.”
The family was especially delighted to win this year, as Jean-Guy was able to attend the event. Last year he was hospitalized and not even expected to live, so to have him at the event to celebrate the win made it extra-special.
“We are proud to be going into our fourth generation of farming,” said Luc. “We always try to be number one, but it’s great to win the title this year.