Eastern Ontario Dairy Farmers Named as 2014 Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers – Cowsmo

Eastern Ontario Dairy Farmers Named as 2014 Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers

“We want to always be changing and growing. We embrace new ideas and technology and we want to have a farm we are proud of, that we helped make with both our brains and our backs. Those words, from Jason and Amanda O’Connell, of Sunol Farms in Carleton Place, are a big part of why they are the winners of the 2014 Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ Program.

The O’Connells received the top honour at the provincial awards ceremony held in Guelph on March 25. Winners of the award are chosen based on career progress; environmental and safety practices; crop and livestock production history; financial and management practices; and contributions to society.

Jason, raised on a small hobby beef farm, and Amanda, on a nearby dairy farm, met while attending the University of Guelph’s Kemptville College. In 2006 they bought out Amanda’s family dairy farm and started on their own. After two years of “working to convince others to incorporate new technologies, and science,” they were given free rein to make management decisions and since taking over, they have moved from milking 127 cows filling 70 kgs of quota to now milking 90-95 cows while filling 120+kg daily.

The judges, Eadie Steele (Shepherd’s Choice Breeding Stock, and OYF alumnus), Ken Rounds (Ethos Solar and OYF Alumnus) and Dr. Larry Martin (Agri-Food Management Excellence) chose the O’Connells in part due to their willingness to adopt change, desire for continuous improvement and growth, and involvement in the industry and their community.

Runners- up were Dave and Amy Arand of Arand Farms in Atwood. Dave and his family raise 40,000 turkeys and crop 1200 acres of corn, wheat and dry beans. For information on all of the finalists, visit the OOYF website at www.oyfontario.ca.

Co-chairs of the event, Steve and Lisa Cooper of Coopers’ Farm and noted that “Spending time with such imaginative and successful young farmers reminds us all that farming is a rewarding occupation and we need to be positive and celebrate our accomplishments.”

Celebrating 34 years of identifying great agricultural successes, 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 CropScience, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and supported nationally by AdFarm and Farm Management Canada.

Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2014 will be chosen at the National Event in Quebec City, Quebec from November 26-30, 2014.

 

 

 

 

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