Craig and Jinel Ference of Double F Farms located at Kirriermuir, Ab. are Alberta’s Outstanding Young Farmers of 2018. The honour was announced at the Alberta regional event held in Olds, Ab. on Feb. 9. Ference’s will now ready themselves for the National Competition in Winnipeg in November, 2018. ECA Review/Submitted
More than 60 people gathered to honour fourth generation farmers Craig and Jinel Ference of Double F Farms located at Kirriemuir, Ab. as Alberta’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2018.
The winners were announced at the Alberta regional event held in Olds, Ab. on Feb. 9.
After receiving university degrees, in Ag-business for Craig and Education for Jinel, they returned to take on the responsibilities of full-time farming in 2004 and today crop 10,000 acres, manage an 8000 head feedlot and 4000 mother cows, as well as a number of custom farming contracts.
Their goal today continues to be one of creating a diverse business that involves many agriculture sectors.
Craig and his wife, Jinel who was born near Stavely, Ab. have three children, Maddie (8), Nate (6) and Macy (3).
Craig has always worked alongside his parents who have been very supportive of growth and expansion.
“We feel very privileged to live in a yard with three generations and work together,” said Jinel.
As caretakers of the land, Craig and Jinel focus on improving the land for future generations by increasing organic matter from one to four percent.
New technology in product and equipment advancements continues to bring change to their farming techniques both in Alberta and their new expanded operation in Biggar, Sk.
The property was purchased in 1999. Land prices were good and it is a productive area.
“We seeded the land to grass and installed a water system. The purchase was made to increase our summer pasture and to ensure there was less drought risk by having cattle in multiple places,” said Jinel in an email to the ECA Review.
Labour was a struggle when Craig first returned home and had dreams of growing the business. You must have great employees in order to operate a sizeable mixed farm.
The majority of their employees are from Ukraine, South Africa, Sweden and Ireland.
“Some are seasonal and others have come to Canada with dreams of becoming residents and working towards their citizenship.”
The Alberta Region of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program honoured two other nominees, couples, Craig and Celeste Christensen of Parflesh Farms, Standard, Ab. and Roelof and Mary VanBenthem, VanBenthem Dairy, Red Deer County, Ab. at their 2018 Regional Event.
All three nominee couples had different and innovative operations.
The alumni will be working with the Ferences to help them prepare for the national event.
Celebrating 38 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.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2018 will be chosen at the National Event in Winnipeg, Mb. from Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2018.