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Nominations open for Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmer 2020


January 30, 2020
By Potatoes in Canada

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Nominations are open for Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmer (OOYF) award, an award recognizing people who contribute to the community, seek out new opportunities and are assets to the province’s agri-food industry.

Anyone can nominate a young farmer, farm couple, or farm partnership for the award by Jan. 31, 2020.

The award is presented at the regional event next September, in conjunction with Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, Ont.

Those nominated must meet the eligibility requirements. The eligibility requirements are simply:

  • Must be between the ages of 18 and 39
  • Must have an ownership stake in their farm
  • Must derive a minimum of 2/3 of their income from their farm

The award process is composed of multiple steps. First, nominations are submitted by Jan. 31, 2020. Nominees are then contacted and asked to complete a detailed application form. A preliminary judging committee consisting of OOYF Alumni reviews the submitted application forms and contacts the top candidates. Their decision is based upon items such as the nominee’s progress in their agricultural career; adoption of soil, water, and energy conservation practices; financial and management practices and contribution to the well-being of the community, province, and nation.

The top candidates will participate in a 20 minute interview with 3 judges and will deliver a 15 minute powerpoint presentation that depicts their farm. This takes place at the regional event in September at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show. The winner will be announced at the conclusion of the event.

The provincial winner will then compete in the National competition which is designed to recognize young farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession.

In 2019, Jan and Jony Roos received the OOYF award. The couple operates Roos Dairy Goats near Brownsville, Ont., one of the largest dairy goat operations in Ontario. The operation went from 500 goats in 2007 to milking a herd of 2,500 head in 2018.

In 2018, brothers Jordan and Alex McKay, owners of Willowtree Farm in Port Perry, Ont., were honoured as award recipients. The McKays took their parents’ dairy and cash crop farm and evolved it to focus on beef cattle and an expanding list of fruits and vegetables. In 2016, the McKays opened a 4,300 sq. ft. retail year-round market at Willowtree, complete with a butcher shop, commercial kitchen and cafe right on the farm.

A full list of OOYF alumni and more information about OYF can be found on the website: ontario.oyfcanada.com.