Four families were selected from the east central region for the Farm Family awards at the Calgary Stampede including the Tainsh family of Kneehill County, the Storch family of Special Area No. 2, the Blair family of Special Area No. 3 and the Holowath family of Starland County.
Each year, counties and agricultural service boards across southern Alberta nominate a farm family that still holds true to the western way of life, is continuing to preserve their family legacy and contributes to Alberta’s agriculture sector.
Nineteen families were celebrated in total at the 23rd annual BMO Farm Family Awards held on Mon. July 8 at the BMO Centre of Stampede Park in Calgary.
As leaders in Alberta’s agriculture industry, the winning farm families have deep-seated roots in their communities, a passion for farming and proud family legacies carried on through their day to day operations.
For the Holowath family, the recognition has been a humbling experience.
“You’re just doing what you’re doing but when it does show up it’s humbling and you appreciate it,” said Kent Holowath. “It’s never a dull moment.”
Their philosophy in life focuses on being good community members who show their pride and help whenever needed.
Kent and Jill believe this attitude and commitment to success has been passed down to their three children: Garrett, Brett and Amanda.
A large component of the award criteria is community involvement, something that the Rumsey-based family is never short of doing including athletics like minor baseball, curling and figure skating as well as the county agricultural service board, 4-H, and school activities.
They run roughly 150 purebred Angus herd on eight quarters of pasture land as well as farm nine quarters of cultivated land.
The Storch Family, located in the Garden Plains area of Special Areas No. 2, were also elated to receive the award.
Kenneth and Lynda Storch along with son Allen, his wife Leona and children Tyrel and Breanna were on hand to accept their recognition.
Family has meant everything to them.
“We are quite humbled,” said Lynda Storch. “We are fortunate and blessed to have our family close by.”
The fifth-generation farm has 140 red Simmental Shorthorn cattle as well as 2880 acres of cultivated land as well as 600 acres in pasture without the use of the community pasture Special Areas has designed.
The BMO Farm Family Awards aim to maintain a primary focus on agriculture and agri-food at the Calgary Stampede and within southern Alberta, promote the relationship between urban and rural people and create awareness about agriculture and the value of the family farmer.
This event showcases those who take an innovative approach to growing their business, demonstrate a commitment to traditional western values and maintain an exceptional standard of sustainability.
Selected families are brought to Stampede for the BMO Farm Family Awards, which include an awards ceremony, reception and brunch.
Each Farm Family also received a personalized gate sign and an afternoon at the Calgary Stampede Rodeo.
“They treat you well,” said Holowath.
In addition to Devin Dreeshen, the Alberta Minister of Agriculture, John MacAulay, Regional President, Prairies and Northwest Territories Division, BMO Bank of Montreal and Dana Peers, Calgary Stampede President and Chairman of the Board were also in attendance to help recognize the winning families.