Source: Outstanding Young Farmers
Alumni and industry gathered to honour Roelof and Mary van Benthem, owners of van Benthem Dairy, located at Spruceview, AB, as Alberta/NWT’s 2020 Outstanding Young Farmers. The winners were announced at the Alberta regional event held in Red Deer, Alberta on February 6-7th.
Roelof moved to Canada in 2000 and spent the next ten years, studying Kinesiology, Embryo Transplantation, Speed skating, Agriculture Production, and Agriculture Management at Olds College. Roelof and Mary were married in 2010 and have four children-Lars (8) Noah (6) Finn (3), and Toby (3 months).
While in the Netherlands, Roelof worked with a veterinarian to learn how to do his own embryo recovery and transplantation work and pregnancy checking. Because of Roelof’s passion for genetics, the farm has had great success improving production and confirmation in the last seventeen years by doing their own embryo recovery and transplantation work.
van Benthem Dairy encompasses a total of 840 acres and contains 120 milk cows and 150 young stock. The farm strives for quality milk production. To achieve that quality status, they take great care of their livestock and ensure that trace-ability and bio-security are well implemented. Roelof & Mary have established their CQM handbook for the farm and a code of practice book for the proper care and handling of dairy cattle.
The Alberta region was pleased to have in attendance, the Hon. Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and MLA Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, as well as Judy Dreeshen, representing her husband Earl Dreeshen, MP for Red Deer-Mountain View.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer Program president Steve Cooper attended and noted, “The strength of Alberta’s OYF alumni was on full display with every decade from the past 40 years in attendance and engaged to welcome their newest members Roelof and Mary to the OYF family.”
Celebrating 40 years, 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, Sollio Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. National Media Sponsors are WS and Glacier FarmMedia and the program is supported nationally by BDO and Farm Management Canada.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2020 will be chosen at the National Event in Saskatoon, SK from December 3-6, 2020.