Saskatoon (Nov 29, 2022) Guillaume and Étienne Lessard, Ferme Holdream Inc, of St. Honoré-de-Shenley, QC and Cody Straza and Alllison Squires, Upland Organics, of Wood Mountain SK were chosen as National Winners from seven regional farmers at Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) Program’s national event held in Saskatoon, SK November 23-27, 2022.
At 16, Brothers, Guillaume & Étienne, bought a cow instead of quad and had a one hundred tap maple bush operation. With the help of their grandfather, they took over the family farm located at St. Honoré-de-Shenley in 2001. What began as 27K quota and 150 acres is now three distinct operations- 280K dairy quota, 3500 organic pigs, 32,000 maple syrup taps and 1700 acres. With goals to increase profit, be self-sufficient and standardize their herd, Ferme Holdream Inc began in 2006. Guillaume now manages the accounts & fields while Étienne manages the livestock and they both consider the maple syrup as their pre-retirement project. In 2007 they lost their heifer barn to fire and in 2018 they lost their whole dairy operation to fire, only to rebuild it within a year. To support their families, they have an extensive shareholder agreement and succession plan.
Cody purchased his first cattle and land before heading to the University of SK to obtain his engineering degree. While at university he met Allison, a city girl working on her PhD in toxicology. After trying the city life, they decided they did not like it and wanted to be their own boss while producing something that contributed to society. In 2010, they purchased seven quarters of land and Upland Organics began in Wood Mountain. In 2015, Cody & Allison introduce a seed cleaning plant to reduce their grain dockage and improve revenue. Three hundred head of cattle were introduced in 2019. The cattle trample cover crops eliminating the need for fall tillage. They continue to expand their markets by adding value and diversifying, most recently backgrounding calves for market.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers President Steve Cooper had this to say about the National Event. “What an incredible bounce back in-person event. Saskatchewan Region delivered an engaging and entertaining experience from start to finish. The 2022 honourees were the stars of the show with presentations that inspired us all. They come from all sectors of agriculture across the country and definitely live up to the moniker of OUTSTANDING. There’s no doubt that Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers National Event is one of the few “can’t miss” events in Canada.”
Every year this event brings recognition to outstanding farmers in Canada between 18 and 39 years of age who have exemplified excellence in their profession while fostering better urban-rural relations. The winners were chosen from seven regional finalists, including the following honourees from the other five regions:
Ben Campbell – Tullichewan Ranch- Black Diamond, AB
Kristy-Layne & Richard Carr – Rich Lane Farms – Marchand, MB
Gurpreet Singh Lidder – Lidder Produce Ltd – Keremos BC
Morgan & Karissa Smallman – J & J Farms Ltd – Alberton PE
David & Jennifer VanDeVelde – Wholesome Pickins Market & Bakery – Delhi, ON
All the finalists exemplified their love and passion for the agriculture industry.
Celebrating 42 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, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Sollio Agriculture and CN; our media partners, Glacier FarmMedia and WS and supported nationally by BDO.
For more information on this event please contact:
Carla Kaeding, Program Manager, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers