It was a full house for the annual Farmer’s Appreciation Night event held at the Stettler Community Hall on June 24th.
The event, hosted by the Rotary Club, is into its 65th year, organizers said.
“Our community is a farming community,” said Rotarian and event committee member Carol Nixon. “We like to recognize our farmers and what they contribute to the community. We also do the scholarships for the youth, encouraging them into agriculture and trades.”
This year, Shaylyn McNeill received her scholarship from RBC Royal Bank (Daniel Dietz); Carson Neitz received his from MNP (Connie Adam); Kimberly Schipper received hers from SVC – (Dr. Barbara Munholland) and finally Jace Thorsteinson received his scholarship from Central Alberta Co-op (Rob McDonald).
Each scholarship provides $1,000 to the young people.
“I think these scholarships have brought a lot more of a connection to the community as well.”
Gert and Sonya Schrijver of Marsfield Holsteins dairy farm were also recognized for being named the 2018 Master Breeders – the highest national award given by Holstein Canada to its members.
The award is given to breeders with the best ratio for breeding cows with high production, reproduction and health.
Schrijver and his wife immigrated to Canada from Holland in 1996.
“The Master Breeder title is held in such high esteem that it has become the ultimate goal for Canadian breeders to aspire to achieve,” explained Pat Roach, Rotary president. “It brings with it the greatest recognition from fellow breeders.”
The Schrijvers 0fficially received the honour earlier this spring in Charlottetown.
“Their herd of 260 milking cows produced last year a total of 4.2 million kg of milk, and is currently not only one of the top-producing herds in Canada but also world-wide,” he said.
“This resulted in farm tours from all over the world visiting Marsfield including (groups) from China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States,” he said.
“Besides managing the farm together with his wife Sonya, and their team of employees, Gert is also a 4-H leader, a director of Alberta Milk, a director on the National Genetic and Breed Improvement Board, and represents Alberta dairy farmers as the director of the Dairy Farmers of Canada board.
“The Rotary Club would like to acknowledge Gert and Sonya for their recent prestigious award for the Master Breeder title,” he said.
“We can only imagine the work, commitment and the connections involved in such an award and such an honour.”
As mentioned, Nixon said the Farmer’s Appreciation Night has been held in Stettler for the past 64 years. Community support and turn-out are always solid.
“I think we are around the 245-mark tonight,” she said. Guest speakers for the evening also included Kevin Falkenburg and Brady Armstrong.
Earlier in the evening, Mayor Sean Nolls publicly expressed his appreciation to local farmers for their amazing contributions to the region.
“I just want to thank all the farmers for everything you do,” he said, adding that he personally does his best to help educate the public on where their food actually does come from as well.
County Reeve Larry Clarke also said that advocating on the local farmers’ behalf is an honour that the County doesn’t take lightly.
“This spring has brought a new provincial party running our province, and we will be collaborating with them along with the rural municipalities of Alberta to ensure we are receiving everything we should be getting from the government – working with them through provincial funding and grants,” he said.
“I also want to thank the Rotary Club for recognizing farmers in our area and our province, and what we do to contribute to providing food for the world,” he added.
Roach expressed his gratitude to farmers, and also pointed out that the Rotary Club has about a 95-year history in the community. “This group is dedicated to community, youth and social programs.”