Churchbridge (September 16, 2017) – Strawberry and Blueberry farmer Dusty Zamecnik of Langton, ON, was named the 2017 Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) for the Ontario Region at the annual awards event held September 12 in conjunction with Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in London ON.
Dusty Zamecnik, a graduate of Francis Xavier is fourth generation owner of EZ Grow Farms Ltd and partner in Hometown Brew Co. EZ Grow began as a tobacco farm but has evolved into blueberry production and strawberry propagation. By specializing, Dusty feels their competitive advantage is maximized.
The Ontario OYF region was honoured to have four nominees participate in the event. They were: Amanda & Steve Hammell, Tara, ON; Jessica Foote, Janetville, ON; Josh & Ellen and Rudi & Jennifer Biemond, Iroquois, ON; and Dusty Zamecnik, Frogmore, ON. Canada’s OYF Past president Jack Thomson was pleased to attend and made this comment “The Ontario region of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers has, once again, celebrated the accomplishments of a passionate group of inspiring producers. Our recipient tonight of the Ontario award, Dusty Zamecnik, has a can-do approach to his business. Passion, entrepreneurship and dedication are the foundation of any great business and Dusty displays these in spades.”
After obtaining his degree and working a few years off-farm, Dusty came home to take over his family’s farm. The operation moved away from rosebushes and tomatoes and focused on strawberry propagation. Orders have increased from 6 million plants to 16 million plants per year. The farm is now propagating breed stock to which they have exclusive rights.
Blueberries produced are sold direct to consumers in patented containers which helped to establish brand identity. Hometown Brew Co is Dusty’s latest venture. He partnered with two cousins in 2016 to create a micro-brewery that has 3 brews, one which features the farm’s blueberries.
Dusty believes in being a positive voice for agriculture by using social media and being involved in local fruit organizations.
Celebrating 37 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 2017 will be chosen at the National Event in Penticton, BC from November 30 – December 3, 2017.
For more information or a photo of Dusty Zamecnik, contact:
Carla Kaeding, Program Manager, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers