Magrath area farmer puts family and agriculture first in growing industry internationally

Gary Stanford says he has seen a lot of change in his many years farming the land his family owns near Magrath, Alberta.

He says farms are growing and trends are constantly changing, which is why he is thankful to be able to farm with his wife, Diane, and their family.

“To be a farm family and have your kids actually help you farm is quite exciting because there is not a lot of businesses or industries where you can have your family help you run your business,” said Stanford.  “So from my family’s point of view and my wife’s point of view, especially, she’s just really thrilled that we can have all our family here.”

‘Here’ being the Calgary Stampede’s BMO Farm Family Awards, which were held in early July.

Stanford says his family was very excited to be picked as the recipient of the Calgary Stampede’s BMO Farm Family Award for Cardston County this year.

Stanford is the Vice Chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission board, something he is proud to be a part of.

“I want to see agriculture get better in the future, we can always improve on anything that happens in life and right now there are so many people leaving the farm and the cities are growing.  Only two per cent of the population still farms and I want to see some sort of agricultural system that my grandkids could still farm in.”

Stanford doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk when it comes to educating youth about agriculture.

“In the town of Magrath, where we are, we have a sustainable agricultural education partnership, we started an agricultural school to actually teach kids in Junior High and High School about agriculture, but now we are working on training the teachers so the teachers understand what it is, take away a lot of the myths about farming.  Is GMO good for you or bad for you, take away all of these myths and explain we have healthy food in Canada.”

If he wasn’t busy enough, Stanford is also on the board of the Canadian International Grains Institute and also meets with the Canadian Grain Commission regularly as well.

Stanford says agriculture is a culture, you’re in it, you want it to get better and you want to make sure your family can flourish with you.