Winnipeg, MB (March 1, 2016) – Crop farmers Jason and Laura Kehler of Carman, MB were chosen as the 2016 Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) for Manitoba at a recent awards event in Winnipeg, MB. The Kehlers were presented with their honour by Manitoba Deputy Agriculture Minister Dori Gingera-Beauchemin, and they will go on to represent Manitoba at the national OYF event later this year in Niagara Falls, ON.
Jason and Laura farm 5,600 acres on their Kehler Farms Ltd. growing potatoes, seed soybeans, corn, canola, oats, wheat, soybeans and edible beans. Farming was all Jason ever wanted to do, growing on his family’s operation at Carman, MB. And Laura grew up on a mixed livestock and grain farm in northeast Ohio. Through hard work and clear goals, they are raising their family on a farm that is guided by innovative production methods and sustainable practices.
“When farming is what you’ve always wanted to be in, there is a tremendous satisfaction when it all comes together,” says Franck Groeneweg, 2nd vice president, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers program. “Jason and Laura are doing what they love, and setting tremendous examples to the industry, their community and their family about the rewards of hard work, determination and respect for others and the land.”
Jason worked alongside his dad on the family operation throughout his 20s. In 2000, his dad gave him a 20 per cent share in the family operation, and today the couple have taken over Kehler Farms Ltd. Laura has always worked in the agriculture sector – in the agri-food industry, research and development, and as a senior scientist with Manitoba Agriculture. She met Jason in 2008, and in 2011 took over bookkeeping, CanadaGap Food Safety, and Workplace Health and Safety programs for Kehler Farms.
Since 2014, the Kehlers have increased their total crop production acres by nearly 50 per cent, boosting processing potato acres by more than 100 percent, purchasing three quarter sections of land, and installing drain tile on four quarters. Their long-term goals for the farm business centre of increasing their land base, purchasing farm shares from Jason’s dad each year, and increasing total production actions while managing debt wisely.
As their business grows and diversifies, so do the programs they are required to participate in. On-Farm Food Safety training and Workplace Health and Safety are requirements for potatoes farms and meant a significant change in their farming business.
Jason and Laura have great respect for their land, and use sustainable production practices and crop rotations to farm progressively. They want to raise their family to have strong roots in agriculture and love what they do.
Celebrating 36 years, 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, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2016 will be chosen at the National Event in Niagara Falls, Ontario from November 29 – December 4, 2016.
For more information or a photo of Jason and Laura Kehler, contact:
Carla Kaeding, Program Manager, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers