Norquay Farm Family attends National Outstanding Young Farmers event

After winning the 2018 Saskatchewan Outstanding Young Farmer award in June, Jordan and Jennifer Lindgren and family attended the Outstanding Young Farmer Program National Recognition Event in Winnipeg from November 27 to December 2.

The Lindgrens, together with their children Jaxson (12), Alexis (11), Westin (9) and Bristol (8) operate Lindgren Farms near Norquay.

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“We are a century family farm and we seed 11,500 acres with a 50/50 split of canola and wheat,” said Jordan. 

In addition to their farm work, they try to contribute to the agricultural education of young people in the surrounding area.

“In the spring and fall we host a Food Farm event on our farm,” said Lindgren. “This includes Grade 3 and 4 kids from Norquay, Kamsack, Sturgis and Preeceville. For these days on the farm the focus is teaching kids about where their food comes from and farm safety. We are able to use a hands on approach and the response from the kids has been amazing.”

Lindgren said research is important to their success and that of other farmers.

“A few years ago we partnered with Prairie Soil Services, as well as Pattison Ag, Bayer crop science, and ATP Nutrition to do field trials. We would then host the Field of Dreams farm tour to showcase all the trials,” he said. “Working closely with our agronomist, we put together field- size trials of the newest varieties, products and rates, as well as different equipment practices. This gives us first hand experience of what grows best on our land. We also do an 80-acre field of wheat and of canola that is pushed to maximize productivity.

“We are then able to share this information with other farmers, and leaders in the industry on the Field of Dreams tour day at the end of July.” 

Lindgren said the couple became involved with the Outstanding Young Farmer program when a colleague approached them and asked them to be nominees.

“Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the contribution of agriculture,” he explained. “Every year this event brings recognition to outstanding farm couples in Canada between 18 and 39 years of age who have exemplified excellence in their profession while fostering better urban-rural relations.”

The eligibility requirements for the program include:

•           Must not have reached the age of 40 as of January 1st in the year of competition

•           Be farm operators

•           Derive a minimum of two-thirds of their income from farming

•           The nominee must be responsible for the majority of management decisions in operating the farm.

Lindgren said the top candidates are asked to participate in an interview and presentation process to determine the winners in the seven regions across the country.

Two national winners are declared each year. The 2018 winners are: Craig and Jinel Ference (Alta.) and Jordan and Alex McKay (Ont.)

Lindgren said he and his wife Jennifer have built up their farm operation gradually over the years; purchasing land and building equity. They eventually bought out his father and uncle.

“Over the years we have increased our land base while maintaining good relationships with our landlords as well as people in the industry.  Having a good marketing strategy, crop plan and dedicated employees has also been important,” he said.

“Farming is a business and management is key. We work together as a team. We feel that communication is essential in our farming operation.  Not only with each other but our employees as well. My dad and my uncle taught me that good communication and appreciation on a daily basis is key to maintaining strong working relationships.”

Lindgren said that as the farm has grown, it had obviously become a large scale business. But they strive to maintain the feel of the family farm. 

“As my wife was on the combine this year, my daughter Lexi was making meals for supper, Jaxson was running the auger, and Westin and Bristol were helping me where they could,” he said. “This truly makes our hearts burst with joy. Our goal is to ensure that our farm is viable and sustainable for our children.

“Our farm is lucky to have great employees They are our farm family. We need reliable people to help get the job done. We are fortunate to have a team that cares for our land as much as we do.”

Lindgren said they place a priority on looking after the land; focusing on soil health and improvement.

“We do yearly soil samples and analysis to help determine what each field needs to make it the most productive,” he said. “We use sectional control with all our application equipment to allow for more accurate application of products with no overlap, to minimize waste.”

He said they always strive to keep up on new ideas in agronomy and how best to manage their crops.

“This harvest we straight cut all of our canola. Looking at the results from last year and the previous years of trials we have seen a consistent increase in yield, and decrease in harvest loss. We get better fall weed control and it allows the canola to mature to its full potential,” he summarized.

Lindgren said being chosen the winners of the 2018 Saskatchewan Outstanding Young Farmer award was both an honour and a humbling experience

“Our fellow nominees and their farms were so amazing, it was incredible be nominated among fellow leaders in the Ag industry,” he said.

Lindgren said the time spent at the National Outstanding Young Farmer event in Winnipeg was filled with enjoyable and useful experiences. Highlights included touring a dairy farm, a Hutterite colony, and the Forks in Winnipeg.”

He said being involved in the competition will likely have significant long-term benefits for Lindgren Farms.

“It really is joining a family. Everyone from past years joins together to celebrate agriculture.  The energy in the room is filled with passion and inspiration,” he said.

“We got to know people from across Canada and learn about the different practices they use on their farms. We discussed aspects of farming such as intercropping practices, human resource management and new environmental practices. We discussed bridging the gap between rural and urban Canadians and how to strengthen the connection.

“It truly was an experience of a lifetime to be among like-minded individuals who share the same passion for agriculture. It really does leave us feeling inspired. We are thrilled that we are now a part of the National Alumni and are able to experience it every year, including travelling to all parts of Canada.” 

Lindgren encourages any farmers who are nominated to let their names stand for the Outstanding Young Farmer award.

“Enjoy the whole process, the experience is second to none. You can't put a value on the relationships that are created during this process,” he concluded.