An organic farming couple from Saskatchewan and a pair of dairy farming brothers from Quebec have been named Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2022.
Cody Straza and Allison Squires, who operate Upland Organics, and brothers Étienne Lessard and Guillaume Lessard, who farm together under Ferme Holdream Inc., were chosen from the field of seven nominees from across Canada at the OYF National Event, which took place in Saskatoon, Sask., this past weekend.
After buying their first piece of land in 2010, Straza and Squires were recognized for their leadership in organic grain production in Saskatchewan, implementing reduced tillage, intercropping, cover cropping, pollinator strips, and rotational grazing practices on their farm near Wood Mountain.
In addition to dairy farming at St Honore de Shenley, QC, the Lessards farm around 1700 acres, produce 3,500 hogs per year under an organic standard and with biomass heating, and have a 32-thousand-tap maple sugar bush, which is also organic.
The OYF program is an annual competition — in its 42nd year — recognizing Canadian farmers who “exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture.” It’s open to farmers 18 to 39 years of age who make the majority of their income from on-farm sources.
2022 Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer regional nominees:
Gurpreet Lidder- Lidder Produce at Keremos, BC
Ben Campbell- Tullichewan Ranch at Black Diamond, AB
Cody Straza & Allison Squires- Upland Organics at Wood Mountain, SK
Richard & Kristy-Layne Carr- Rich Lane Farms at Marchand, MB
David & Jennifer VanDeVelde- Wholesome Pickins Market & Bakery- Delhi, ON
Guillaume & Etienne Lessard- Ferme Holdream Inc- St Honore de Shenley, QC
Morgan & Karissa Smallman- J&J Farms, Alberton PEI