Abbotsford – March 19, 2018 – At 39 and 33, Tyler McNaughton and Sacha Bentall of Cutter Ranch in Fort Steele are far too young to be put out to pasture but their animals thrive on it. Thriving animals equals a thriving business and a thriving business has made McNaughton and Bentall the 2018 BC & Yukon Outstanding Young Farmers.
Branded as “where food comes from,” Cutter Ranch produces pasture-raised lamb, pork and beef on their 160-acre ranch. The pair began raising lamb at Bentall’s parents’ farm in Clinton before moving to Fort Steele. “We started with lamb but soon diversified into hogs and poultry,” McNaughton says, noting “our intent is to produce high-quality ethically-raised meat raised in a low-stress environment.” Rather than use conventional barns, Cutter’s animals are housed in greenhouses when not out on the pasture.
After seeing “what worked and what didn’t,” they made a major change in 2016, eliminating poultry, streamlining their pork production by phasing out farrowing and using purchased weaner pigs as a base and adding beef. The changes had an immediate positive impact. Sales of their pasture-raised pork increased 219% in 2017 and have already increased another 30% this year.
McNaughton and Bentall have established a web-based sales and distribution system and aggressively price their products, noting “our pricing must match our quality.”
They try to involve the local community as much as possible, touring hundreds of kids through the farm during lambing season each spring and regularly conducting sheepdog demonstrations; “Our core goals were to pursue the endeavor as a couple, dedicate time to raising a family (they now have two young daughters), be environmental stewards of our land, be self-employed and grow high quality/nutritious food. We can say unarguably that our goals have not changed,” they say.
The BC Region of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program were pleased to honour three couples at their 2018 Regional Event. The couples recognized were: Roger & Lana Groot of Hatch Creek Ranch in Topley and Gemma McNeill & Douglas Zaklan of Zaklan Heritage Farm in Surrey.
Celebrating 38 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. 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 2018 will be chosen at the National Event in Winnipeg, MB from November 29 – December 3, 2018.
For more information or a photo of Tyler McNaughton and Sacha Bentall, contact:
Carla Kaeding, Program Manager, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers