Calgary (Rural Roots Canada) – The Brocklebank family is one of this year’s Calgary Stampede-BMO Farm Family award winners, an honour that Andrea Brocklebank says comes after a difficult couple of years.
“It’s just nice to be honoured after a couple of tough years of drought. It was really nice to see that.”
Brocklebank farms in Foothills County, Alberta, alongside her husband, two sons, and mom, running yearlings on grass and working the crops. She’s also the Executive Director of the Beef Cattle Research Council, which has proven to benefit their operation.
“That’s a lot of fun for me because I take all the learnings from other producers and researchers across the country and come home to try it on our farm,” she chuckles.
Sustainability plays a big part in their operation, calling it a passion for herself.
“We often talk about the economic piece and more so now the environment, but that social piece is huge. Farming is a tough gig. Mentally, so much is out of your control. That’s one piece I’m passionate about focusing on and advocating for mental health. It’s such a big area for producers. You watch them put in so much effort, and Mother Nature isn’t always their friend,” she says.
Another issue Brocklebank is eager to discuss is succession planning, calling it one of the toughest challenges families have to navigate.
“We have a lot of conversations about what’s fair versus equal because when you’re talking about those valuable assets but the cash flow isn’t, you can’t always compensate those siblings not involved to the same extent.”