By Tim Proven
For the Independent
On June 25 the 62nd annual Farmers Appreciation Night was held at the Stettler Community Hall in honour of local producers.
Organized by the Stettler Rotary Club the event has seen many changes over the years according to the evening’s chairperson Kathie Hankins. Originally a dinner to thank farm clients, it has now blossomed into a gala event that filled the hall with entertainment, speakers and scholarships for youth. The awards represent the basis of what the Rotary Club stands for according to President Gwen Lee. Offering youth programs, international exchanges, awards as well as “fun and fellowship” said Lee.
Local dignitaries gave speeches, toasts and expressed appreciation to local growers to start the evening. Stettler Town Coun. Scott Pheiffer said, “Farmers invest their whole life, their savings, their time. They help their neighbours and contribute greatly to the community.”
Stettler County Reeve Larry Clarke praised the pioneers who chose this area and those, “that carry on their legacy. Whose first thought of the day can always be equated to what’s best for our farm, our lifestyle and our communities.”
The evening’s entertainment featured a video tribute entitled “A Farmers Creed,” a montage of growers from all over North America speaking about what farming means to them. Cowboy poet Phil Jarmin spouted hilarious yet insightful verses about the way of the land.
“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him think,” said Jarmin. “You can lead a man to knowledge but you can’t make him think.”
Guest speaker Graham Heron, a partner at MNP Red Deer, offered tips and insight into tax laws and changes local producers may face. His presentation focused on farm succession, estate planning, farmland capital gains and his take on what he called “interesting” new tax laws.
The evening’s finale came with the awarding of scholarships to four local women. Rachael Dreaver and Emily Brown each received $500 from Connie Adam and MNP. Keyonna Derr was awarded $1,000 from Dr. Barbara Munholland and the Stettler Vet Clinic. Ania Bohn also received $1,000 from Daniel Dietz and RBC, money she said will help immensely in her secondary education. Bohn will be taking agriculture management at Olds College working towards becoming an agriculture fieldman. A late start into the ag field Bohn said the Rotary scholarship will allow her to take extra courses and help her in “serving producers, trying to make their lives easier.” She also encouraged any other young people interested in agriculture or trades to look into rotary scholarships.
The Rotary Club recognized those who make the event a continued success and the farmers who continue to work the land in this area.
“I believe that farming despite its hardships and disappointments is the most honest and honourable way a person can spend their days on earth.” – The Farmers Creed