Potatoes in Canada

Excellence in potato industry rewarded at annual Farmer’s Banquet

August 3, 2023  By Potatoes in Canada

Six awards were handed out July 22 at the annual Farmer’s Banquet at the O’Leary Legion during the P.E.I. Potato Blossom Festival.

As reported by the West Prince Graphic, the first award of the evening was the Irma Dumville Memorial Award, which went to Joey Dumville, physical education teacher at Bloomfield Elementary and former O’Leary councillor.

This award is open to O’Leary and area residents who have made significant contributions to sports and recreation in the community.

In his nomination letter, read by the evening’s emcee, organizing committee member Colin Cornish, Dumville was described as passionate and dedicated.

“Over the years, he has numerous hours on fields, served on boards, organizing events and offered guidance and leadership to our youth,” says Cornish.

Dumville has played on many community teams, coached minor hockey, served on town council and helped to bring major events to the community such Hockeyville and the 20203 Canada Winter Games.

“He continues to strive to make O’Leary a better place for all and this man strongly believes giving back to his community,” read Cornish.

Dumville thanked his family, particularly his late mother, whom the award is named after.

The next award was the Potato Producer of the Year, which went to father and son John and David Sweet of Sweet Farms Inc.

Nominees for this award are judged on their contribution to the community, the agriculture and potato industry. The recipient can be retired but needs to be active in the farming industry.

Taylor Cahill was named the P.E.I. Potato Ambassador for 2023. Recipients of this award are between the ages of 17-21 and must be a resident of P.E.I. They must come from a farming background, must be knowledgeable about the PEI potato industry, demonstrates good public speaking skills, friendly, enthusiastic, mature and reliable. Applicants go through a standard interview process.

Cahill grew up in Tignish and was exposed to the potato industry through her family’s farm in Kildare. Cahill is currently attending Acadia University working towards a Bachelor of Science and hopes to continue on a path that allows her to have a career in the agricultural field.

Kent Phillips Future Farmer Award, which was presented by Eric Phillips, went to Tyler MacLean.

Nominees for this award must be between the ages of 18-35 and be actively involved on a dairy, swine, potato or mixed farm and they will be judged on their involvement in the agriculture industry.

Tyler MacLean, 21, is the fifth generation to work on the family farm, a dairy and potato operation in the West Point area. Long-time Green Diamond John Deere Ltd Summerside employee, Kevin Dyment, was the inaugural recipient of the new Friend of the Potato Industry award.

For this award, nominees should be actively employed by a business involved in the potato industry on PEI who go above and beyond to help their customers be successful on their operations.

With over 15 years with Green Diamond, Dyment said he was extremely surprised by the recognition, but was very happy to receive the award.

The final award of the evening was the Hired Hand of the Year, which went to Phillip MacIsaac of Smallman Farms.

The nominees for this award should be capable of hard work, a team player, work unsupervised, show qualities of trustworthiness and are committed to helping the farm operation they are employed on be successful.

Working at Smallman Farms for 18 years, MacIsaac was described as a loyal employee who is known for his hard work, but also his sense of humour.

MacIsaac said receiving the Hired Hand of the Year Award that evening was “perfect.”

Following the awards, attendees heard from guest speakers Krista and Morgan Smallman, who spoke about their experience with Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers program.

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