Southern Alberta farm families honoured at Calgary Stampede

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Family. Farming. Community.

Three words that can sum up all of the recipients of this year’s BMO Farm Family Awards that were presented at the Calgary Stampede on Monday, July 8.

19 families from around Southern Alberta were presented with awards at the annual event.

For Jim Bowhay, who farms with his family in the Sundre area of Mountain View County, says it was humbling to receive the award.

“There’s a lot of people who are deserving as much or little as possible, it’s just a humbling experience,” says Bowhay.

Down the road in Rocky View County, the Milner family are this year’s recipients for that area.

Patti Milner says the entire family was touched to be recognized in this way.

“Wonderful program and a wonderful honour to have been to be chosen as the farm family,” says Milner.

She says her husband Doug and herself believe the greatest strength of their family comes from always pushing forward.

“Don’t give it up attitude, that we work hard and we’re just happy to be farmers.”

Randy Mackenzie from Mountain View area in Cardston County says it was a great honour to be there.

“A great privilege to be here and accept this award and be with all of the other families,” says Mackenzie.

The winners from Lethbridge County was the Bishop family from Barons.

Dave Bishop says it is a real honour to win the award and was thankful to receive the invite up to the Calgary Stampede.

“We really enjoyed the day, it was a great day,” says Bishop.

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Family

Family is paramount for all of the winners.

Just ask Patti Milner.

“I think the most joyful part of this is how it started with great grandparents and has been through the family and both of us have been raised on local farms there and I think the family affair is our great joy in it.”

Bishop says their farm’s success is all because it is a family effort, pointing to the work his wife, Mary, sons, Clinton, and Erek, and daughter-in-law, Kirsty, do every day to make things work.

MacKenzie says their farm’s biggest strength has always been in the family.

“We get along and we continue to work together.”

Community

When speaking with the recipients, the word ‘community’ is prevalent, it keeps coming up, over and over again.

Jim Bowhay says his family has always valued community.

“My parents were that way, we do whatever we can in the community. I’ve been involved in 4-H, as a leader for the youth. Youth is a big part of my life trying to create a future for our youth.”

When asked what community meant to them, the Milner’s had a pretty straight forward definition.

“Community means our family within our area, our town, our county, the whole area we live in.”

Mackenzie says he is fortunate to live in a great community.

“Thankful for the neighbours that we have and try to be good neighbours as well. It’s the community that you live in and just the good people that you associate with.”

Bishop says getting involved has done more than just helped shape their community and the ag sector, which is why he is encouraging others to step forward.

“Get involved with a commission or an ag board. Just be involved and you’ll really be surprised as to what you learn.”

The complete list of winners:

Cardston County – Mackenzie Family

County of Forty Mile – Langeweg Family

County of Newell No. 4 – Philpott Family

County of Warner No. 5 – Quinton Family

Cypress County – Cash Family

Kneehill County – Tainsh Family

Lethbridge County – Bishop Family

Mountain View County – Bowhay Family

MD of Foothills No. 31 – Miller Family

MD of Pincher Creek No. 9 – Westrop Family

MD of Ranchland No. 66 – Blades Family

MD of Taber – Huvenaars Family

MD of Willow Creek No. 26 – Lowe Family

Rocky View County – Milner Family

Special Area No. 2 – Storch family

Special Area No. 3 – Blair Family

Starland County – Holowath Family

Vulcan County – Malmberg Family

Wheatland County – Kalbhen Family