Nominess have been announced for this year's Manitoba Outstanding Young Farmer's Award.
In the running are Jamie and Amy Bell of Birtle, MB and Brooks and Jen White of Pierson, MB.
The winner will be announced March 3, 2018 at a banquet held at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg.
Manitoba is also hosting the national awards ceremony this November.
Below are bios and pics of the nominees, provided by the Manitoba Outstanding Young Farmer's Program:
Jamie and Amy Bell - Bell Century Farms
Farming is in our blood. Jamie is a 6th generation farmer that will be planting the farm’s 136th consecutive crop this spring. This may sound unique but it’s actually not as 2 of our neighbors, the Clarks and Heise’s will be doing the same all within a 10 mile radius of Isabella. Amy (nee Ellis) is from a mixed cattle and grain farm from Kenton. Her family has farming ties that also run deep as her father and uncle just retired from farming a Century Farm in the Kenton-Lenore area.
Together Jamie and Amy are co-owners in the farming corporation Bell Century Farms Isabella Ltd. The 5000 acre family farm grows wheat, canola, soybeans, and a few chickens. In the past we had a more diverse rotation but being that there are lots of acres to cover and Jamie is the lone man on the seeder, simplification is everything to ensure the crop gets in with a timely manner.
Jamie took over managing the farm from his father Ron in 2003 and has doubled its size from 2500 acres. There were a lot of late nights and early mornings put in with the old Morris 40’ air seeder back then and there still are today but at least the equipment has been upgraded and is less likely to breakdown.
Amy helped with harvests before their three children Spencer, Corbin, and Reegan came along, but for now her role is head chef and child minder. She also works part-time as an agronomist at Twin Valley Co-op.
The couple relies on casual labor from family and friends throughout seeding and harvest to make things a go. Their children have a keen interested in faming spending many hours in the cabs of equipment and it is their parent’s hope that the children will take over some day.
Jen and Brooks White - Borderland Agriculture
Brooks and Jen White along with their two young children own and operate Borderland Agriculture in the extreme southwestern corner of Manitoba. They are a 5th generation family farm with a location at Lyleton and another at Pierson. They are fortunate to still have the 4th generation (Ron and Wendy) active on the home farm. The name of the farm represents the location with land bordering both Saskatchewan and North Dakota. The farm is always busy with the diversity of enterprises and at times of the year involves a team of 8 people all working towards the vision of the operation; “Regenerate”. As part of their vision statement, the main focus on their farm is integrating bison production into a diverse cropping system. Total land base is 7500 acres with 5000 of that being in annual crop production. Some of the crops grown include winter wheat, rye, oats, corn, soybeans, faba beans, peas, canola, hemp, lentils, and sunflowers. Two thirds of the annual production in 2017 included the use of intercrops, companion crops, and cover crops with plans to include more intercrops moving forward. As these cropping practises have been adopted, there is an improvement to the biology of the soil and a reduction to the need for inputs. Close to 600 bison are integrated into the farm which are helping to build healthy soils and add value to the operation. One of the goals is to graze all of the bison for 365 days a year. The bison are marketed either as breeding stock or as finished animals for the growing meat market. The bison industry is very strong and the future looks very promising as North America moves forward with plans to expand production. Visitors are welcomed to the farm at any time and are invited to “discover our world” on their farm’s facebook page at facebook.com/borderlandagriculture.