BC Outstanding Young Farmer | Recipients

2017 BC Recipient: Gary & Maria Baars

After graduating from high school, Gary Baars hung up a shingle as TNT Agri-Services, offering “relief milking and much more.” “Much more” soon started becoming a reality and Jan. 11th, the now 33-year-old Chilliwack dairyman, hay salesman and cattle dealer and his wife, Marie (26), became the BC & Yukon Outstanding Young Farmers for 2017.


In 2006, TNT Agri Services turned into TNT Hay Sales as Baars started selling hay, first to local horse farms and then to local dairy farms. “We sell a lot of hay to different dairy farms,” Baars says. Not long after, the young entrepreneur expanded TNT to include cattle sales. When Farm Credit Canada offered him a large loan with “no strings attached” in early 2011, Baars used it to start his own dairy farm.


Read the full press release.


2016 BC Recipient: Brian & Jewel Pauls

The BC and Yukon Outstanding Young Farmer Program has come of age. For the first time in its 36-year history of recognizing outstanding young farmers, the program has a second-generation winner.

Jan. 13th in Abbotsford, the program named Chilliwack poultry and egg producers Brian (37) and Jewel (35) Pauls as the 2016 BC & Yukon Outstanding Young Farmers. Brian’s parents, Frank and Elma Pauls, earned the same award in 1990.

Although Pauls claims to own “only one farm,” with 17,000 broilers and 55,000 caged white and free range brown layers, he also manages the family’s “multiple” egg, broiler and turkey farms in BC and Saskatchewan. The holdings include Canada’s first certified humane turkey farm.

“We raise broilers, pullets, layers and turkeys and grow a multitude of crops which use a lot of chicken manure,” the Pauls state. The Pauls holdings may rival some of the mega-farms in the US, but their operational model is completely different. Read the full press release.



2015 BC Recipient: Kerry & Anita Froese

Born and raised to a farming family in Abbotsford, Kerry is a young leader who is passionate about promoting agriculture to both government and the public. He has dedicated his life to farming and believes in promoting the sustainability of agriculture in Canada.

Kerry has been working on the farm from the time he could walk, and participated in farm chores and responsibilities since that time. In 1995, Kerry began to assume responsibilities of managing his parents’ farm operations. Always seeking out innovative ways to improve the health of his birds, Kerry has proven his farmers intuition over and over again with the successful growth of his chickens.

With a passion for developing farming with the younger generation, in 2008 Kerry was instrumental in founding the BC Young Farmers, an organization to inform, educate, and network young farmers with one another. He mentored and empowered several other young farmers from the Fraser Valley to become involved and carry the baton of this important organization. Then in 2010, Kerry was elected to the board of the Canadian Young Farmers Forum, he has served them as president for the past 3 years. This role has also made him the voice of young agriculture to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

Kerry was elected to the BC Chicken Growers association in 2005. During nearly 8 years serving with them, he spent 2 years as Vice-President, and 2 years as President. He moved on from this position when he was elected to the BC Chicken Marketing Board, where he is currently serving.

Kerry has a strong work ethic that demonstrates how motivated, determined, and results-oriented he is. He applies an innovative, professional, and resourceful attitude in all his endeavours. Kerry is dedicated to his wife, Anita, of more than 17 years. They have four beautiful children.



2014 BC Recipient: Lydia Ryall

BC Outstanding Young Farmer | HarkersA third generation farmer who chose not to take over her parents’ 18-acre vegetable greenhouse but instead strike out on her own has been named the 2014 BC & Yukon Outstanding Young Farmer. 29-year-old Lydia Ryall of Cropthorne Farm in Delta was named the 2014 recipient of the prestigious award at a ceremony in Abbotsford, Jan.

After earning a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree from the University of Lethbridge and a Diploma in Agriculture Production from Olds College in Alberta, Ryall worked for several years as an Environmental Farm Planner in Alberta before returning home to Delta. After beginning a market garden on a corner of her parents’ property in south Delta, Lydia and her sister Rachel moved to Westham Island four years ago. Lydia now grows over 50 crops and raises 100 free-range laying hens on 10 acres.

“We focus on high value crops and crops which you can’t find in regular grocery stores,” Ryall says. Using two small greenhouses (one movable), tunnels, row covers and raised beds allows Cropthorne to grow crops 10 months of the year. Her products are sold through five farmers markets in the summer and two winter markets. Cropthorne also operates a CSA box program which has grown from 25 members in 2010 to 90 in 2013 and added a farm stand in 2013. Cropthorne is certified organic by the Fraser Valley Organic Producers Association. Although Ryall believes in organic principles, she notes the decision to become certified was a “business” rather than a philosophical decision.

“It’s what my customers want,” she points out.

Lydia and Rachel have two full-time year-round employees and three full-time seasonal employees. Full-time staff are augmented by up to eight part-time employees and “apprentices.” Encouraging the apprentices is very important to Ryall, who notes two of her apprentices are now farming on their own while a third has become a full-time Cropthorne employee. Cropthorne uses the tag line of “Real. Good. Honest. Food.” Ryall saying it summarizes the farm’s mission. “I want my farm to be a positive example of sustainable agriculture.” Ryall won the award over three other finalists, the largest crop of BC OYF finalists in over five years. The other finalists included Jacqueline and Richard Boer of Elmido (dairy) Farms and Brightside Poultry in Chilliwack and the Lower Nicola Cattle Company in Merritt, broiler growers Kerry and Anita Froese of Triple F Enterprises in Abbotsford and blueberry grower Anmol Mahil of Mahil Packers in Abbotsford.



2013 BC Recipients

BC Outstanding Young Farmer | HarkersTroy, being a 5th generation farmer, always wanted to return to the farm that has been in his family since 1886. Sara also had a passion for farming and sustainable local food, beginning with her grandparents immigration from Hungary in 1956. In 2006, Troy and Sara left their careers and moved onto the farm. Sara had been involved in the food and beverage industry, managing a restaurant for 8 years and Troy had been an equipment operator in the oil fields.


Troy’s dedication to new ideas, research and innovation is slowly transitioning the farm to newer high density crop varieties and planting styles. In 2010, Troy took over sales and following the legacy his father, grandfather, great grandfather, and great great grandfather put forward, his mandate and goal is to create a sustainable farm and business to pass down to the next generation. Harker’s Organics, located in Cawston, BC is made up of 5 separate entities: a restaurant program that provides produce for local restaurants thru Farm to Fork Delivery, Rustic Roots Winery, a wholesale packing business for over 15 organic producers, a retail outlet, and the Farm (or as Troy likes to call it his “very big garden”).


Everything grown on the farm is started from seed in the 1,200 square foot greenhouse. The Harker’s grow a variety of field crops from 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, 80 varieties of hot peppers, 250,000 sweet pepper plants as well as a variety of miscellaneous items that are primarily sold to local restaurants. Fruit tree varieties include Gala and Honeycrisp apples, Bartlett and Abata Fatale pears, 5 varieties of peaches, 2 varieties of nectarines, and cherries.


Sara currently sits as chair of the Similkameen Wineries Association and holds the title of the youngest VQA assessor.


This amazing hard working couple have earned several awards over the past few years including: 2011 Farming Family of the Year from the BC Institute of Agrologists Best Okanagan Farm by Eat Magazines Exceptional Eats Awards One of the Top 5 Agritourism Destinations by BC Living Best Fruit Wine in Canada in 2011 by Canadian Wine Awards Congratulations to both Troy and Sara for being named BC’s 2013 Outstanding Young Farmers.


Read the full press release.


Photo (left to right): Canada's Outstanding Young Farmer Program president Derek Janzen, Sara and Troy Harker, BC Lieutenant Governor Judy Guichon 




BC Outstanding Young Farmer | Tuytels BC’s youngest-ever Holstein Master Breeders are not only outstanding in the dairy show arena but outstanding among all BC farmers.

Peter and Nicole Tuytel of Elmbridge Farms in Chilliwack were named the winners of the 2012 BC & Yukon Outstanding Young Farmer Award in front of about 400 people at the annual BC Agriculture Gala in Abbotsford, Jan 25th. The Tuytels received their award from BC Minister of Agriculture Don McRae and BC OYF chair Suzanne Cuthbert, a former BC Outstanding Young Farmer.

Last year, Peter Tuytel was named a Master Breeder by Holstein Canada, an award which recognizes at least 15 years of superior dairy cattle breeding. Both have a lifelong passion for cattle and a keen understanding of what makes a superior cow. Peter began building his herd at age 14 while Nicole began even earlier, tracing her herd back to two calves her grandfather gave her when she was just four. Their most famous cow, Elmbridge FM Loveable, a two-time Canadian national champion, is actually a cross of Pete’s maternal line with Nicole’s paternal line and was named the best bred and owned cow in the red-and-white Holstein show at the 2011 World Dairy Expo. The Tuytels also own Davidsons Raider Bronze, the first Canadian cow to receive a 97/100 rating.

After beginning with a small dairy and broiler chicken farm in 1996, the Tuytels now operate a 70-acre dairy farm with 130 cows. Along the way, they have increased their production from an average of 24.5 kg/day in 2000 to 43.6 kg/day in 2011.

Runners-up for the 2012 BC OYF award were hog producers Chad and Angela Goertzen of Sundance Farms in Chilliwack. To be eligible for the Outstanding Young Farmer award, farmers must be between 19 and 39 years and derive at least two thirds of their income from farming. Nominees are judged on conservation practices, production history, financial and management practices, and community contributions. Selecting the 2012 winners were BMO agriculture account manager Lana Dueck, Ritchie Smith CEO Des Gelz and former Outstanding Young Farmer Karen Brown.


Past Recipients


Annamarie & Kevin Klippenstein, Cawston, BC (2011) *

Gene & Shelly Covert - Oliver, BC (2010)

Ian & Jennifer Woike, Duncan, BC (2009)
David & Lisa Taylor, Courtenay, BC (2008) *
Bert and Debbie Bos, Abbotsford, BC (2007)
Pieter and Anita de Bruin, Abbotsford, BC (2006)
Derek & Rhonda Janzen, Aldergrove, BC (2005)
Rick & Karen Thiessen, Abbotsford, BC (2004) *
Ron & Jessie Brar, Surrey, BC (2003) *
Glen & Laurie Bowman, Winfield, BC (2002) *
Walter & Annette Siemens, Abbotsford, BC (2001)
Roger Bailey & Diane Courchesne, Oyama, BC (2000)
David & Sandy Janssens, Surrey, BC (1999)
Fred & Tracy Wein, Aldergrove, BC (1998)
Terry & Bonnie Ludwig, Black Creek, BC (1997)
Ben & Suzanne Cuthbert, Ladysmith, BC (1996)
John & Kelly Schroeder, Abbotsford, BC (1995) *
William & Marlene Van Baalen, Langley, BC (1994) *
David & Margery Graham, Abbotsford, BC (1993)
Charles & Lois Keller, Louis Creek, BC (1992)
Casey & Linda Houweling, Delta, BC (1991) *
Frank & Elma Pauls, Sardis, BC (1990)
Claude & Brenda Moreira, Osoyoos, BC (1989)
Sharon & Mike Malmberg, Fort Steele, BC (1988)
Ted & Penny Ritchie, Naramata, BC (1987)
Allen & Valarie Looy, Errington, BC (1986) *
Clarence & Pat Jensen, Abbotsford, BC (1985)
Louis & Elizabeth Schurmann, Abbotsford, BC (1984)
Rod & Diana King, Penticton, BC (1982)
Greig & Joanne McLeod, Nanaimo, BC (1981)
Andy & Marjorie Brims, Okanagan Falls, BC (1980)

  *denotes National Outstanding Young Farmers

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