Brae couple wins award

Justin (third from left) and Laura (fourth from left) Rogers of Brae pose with the other regional winners and sponsors at the national Outstanding Young Farmer Award competition held in Fredericton in early December. The Island couple was named co-winners of the national award.

Justin and Laura Rogers of Picturesque Farms in Brae received an early Christmas president.

During a ceremony in Fredericton in early December, they was named co-winners of the Canada's Outstanding Young Farmer award. The couple, who won the Atlantic title during a ceremony held in Moncton in conjunction with the Atlantic Farm Mechanization Show last March, share the honour with Simon Michaud and Mylène Bourque of Kamouraska, Quebec.

The couple are the seventh generation of the Rogers family to operate the mixed farm that grows pedigreed seed, forages and beef cattle. Justin’s love for agriculture began when he purchased his first heifer at age 8 and his first tractor at 13.

Picturesque Farms requires feasibility studies or business plans for all major projects or investments while their pedigreed seed business relies on ongoing communication with local customers. In 2020, thanks to the Dairy Farmers of PEI New Entrant Program, they will be converting their 75 head beef cattle sector to a dairy operation. Family values and community are important to Justin and Laura.

In total they farm more than 500 acres of soybeans, grain and forages, and have a small cow calf herd. They also do custom work and are in the process of expanding into a custom seed grain cleaning and treating facility.

Roger said he knew at an early age he wanted to farm and credits his grandfather with helping to instill his passion for farming. That passion led him to study at Nova Scotia Agricultural College (now the Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture) where he met Laura. The couple have two children and Justin hopes one of them will follow in their footsteps.

They are the fifth Island couple to win a share of the national award, following in the footsteps of Vernon and Bertha Campbell (1993), Steven and Jessica Reeves (2005), Greg and Tania MacKenzie (2009) and Andrew and Heidi Lawless (2014)

Prior to taking over the management of the 5th generation dairy farm, Simon Michaud tried many things. Mylène Bourque always knew she loved agriculture so it was an easy decision to follow her heart and join Simon in Ferme Règika Inc. They built a free stall barn in 2005. The build proved to be their biggest challenge.

After some struggles and some changes they increased their average milk production per cow from 9,500 kg to 10,600 kg. Ferme Règika Inc. is located in the heart of the tourist village of Kamouraska so Simon & Mylène are often invited to take part in discussions on the coexistence of agriculture and tourism. Mylène & Simon plan to diversify into potatoes as part of their succession plan.

Steve Cooper, incoming Chair of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program, had this to say about those being honoureed, “It’s so easy in Canadian Agriculture to have the ‘wow’ factor revolve around size and scale of operations. In our program its way down the list and our chosen honourees have proven that once again this year. Incredible passion, business acumen, the ability to change on a dime, and taking really tough scenarios and not only surviving them but turning them into real successes. This is the real ‘wow’. This is what makes our farmers ‘outstanding’ ”.

Every year this event brings recognition to outstanding farmers in Canada between 18 and 39 years of age who have exemplified excellence in their profession while fostering better urban-rural relations. The other regional finalists were Dallas Vert & Natasha Pospisil, Conquest Agro Services Ltd-Kirriemuir, Alberta; Will & Jen Bergmann, Bergmann Bros-Glenlea, Manitoba; James & Cammy Lockwood, Lockwood Farms -Cobble Hill, British Columbia; Jason Ranger, Jaran Farms Ltd-Shellbrook, Saskatchewan and Jan & Jony Roos, Roos Dairy Goats Ltd-Brownsville, Ontario.

The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer, Sollio Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The program is supported nationally by BDO and Farm Management Canada.

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