The Rotary Club of Stettler hosted their annual Farmers Appreciation Night on June 20.
After having been derailed for a couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event which has been running in Stettler for over 70 years was back in full form with around 280 people in attendance.
Current president of the Stettler Rotary Club, Brad Snodgrass, welcomed everyone to the evening, which was held at the Stettler Community Hall.
Jace Thorsteinson, a former Rotary scholarship winner, served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.
Greetings were brought to the attendees from both representatives from the Town of Stettler and the county before dinner was served by Teresa’s Catering.
The special guest for the evening was fifth generation Albertan, rancher, and current MLA for the area and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Rural Economic Development, Nate Horner.
While trying to steer away from politics in his speech, Horner did discuss the challenges that his ministry has faced, with confirmed a confirmed case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the province, multiple confirmed cases of the avian flu, the conflict in Ukraine and a host of other challenges hanging on from the pandemic.
Horner noted that currently his ministry, and the Alberta government, is looking at food and ways to ensure stable food availability and affordability.
“Agriculture is one area we’re all proud of,” said Horner.
“It’s a pretty specialized industry, and there is a feeling of great optimism. I think Alberta agriculture is in a good place.”
Before parting the podium, Horner did encourage everyone in attendance to purchase a United Conservative Party membership so that they may have their voice in the upcoming party leadership vote. Horner did not publicly endorse any of the leadership candidates, though he said he did have some thoughts he would be willing to share after the evening concluded.
After Horner left the podium, it was time for the main event: the Stettler Rotary scholarship presentations.
Four scholarships were awarded to youth entering the agricultural field.
Dean Tschirren presented a scholarship on behalf of Central Alberta Co-op to 19 year-old Jesse Jarmin.
On behalf of MNP, Christina Rice presented a scholarship to 17 year-old Lucas Van Straten.
From RBC Royal Bank, Meagan McComish presented a scholarship to 19 year-old Connor Robertson.
Finally, on behalf of Stettler Vetrinary Clinic, Jackie Dobinson presented to 18 year-old Jonah Jarmin.
Each scholarship was valued at $1,000 to assist the youth in secondary education.
Following the cheque presentations, each youth had a few minutes to speak about their future plans which ranged from attending agri-business school, accounting specializing in agriculture, and veterinary medicine.
Once the four scholarship winners were done presenting, the audience was entertained by the musical prowess of Renegade Station’s Kent Nixon and his son Josh.