Saluting Alberta’s farming families | DrumhellerMail
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Last updateFri, 12 Jul 2024 11pm

Saluting Alberta’s farming families

 

The Calgary Stampede and Bank of Montreal celebrated the centennial year with the presentation of the annual BMO Farm Family Awards on July 9 at Stampede Park. Twenty southern Alberta families were honoured for their dedication to rural life and provincial economic growth. Each winning family was presented with a personalized farm gate sign, received free admission to Stampede Park and tickets to the rodeo, chuckwagons, and grandstand show.

 

Among the winners, representing Kneehill County was the Hogg family from Huxley, representing Starland County was the Mason family from Delia, and representing Wheatland County was the Tower family from Gleichen. 

“A few nominations went out and our family was chosen, it was a pretty good feeling. They’re putting on a pretty good show here for the farm families and for the centennial Stampede,” said Barry Mason of Mason Farm Ltd. 

Kneehill County

Francis Hogg, a Scottish veteran of the Boer War, and his wife Euphemia homesteaded in 1904, before Alberta was an official province. They settled in what was still considered part of the Northwest Territories. The land they chose, a few kilometres west and north of Huxley, is still being farmed by their descendants. 

Hogg Farms has a lot more land than in 1904. Bruce and Leona Hogg along with their sons Drann, Norris and Devin, farm 4, 000 acres and have another 1,500 acres for pasture. Since the 1980’s, the farm has moved away from summer-fallow to direct seeding. Currently their crop rotation includes canola, wheat, barley, peas, and flax. 

“We are honoured and proud that our family is a part of farming,” said Bruce Hogg.

Operating cattle as well, the Hogg family has made some changes in this area over the years. Once a purebred Angus herd, they changed over to commercial cattle some years ago. The farm now has 220 head of Black Angus/Simmental cross cows. 

Starland County

Being the fourth generation on the farm, Barry Mason’s great-grandfather started in the Handhills region back in 1903 and moved to the flatlands five years later. Barry now runs the farm along with his family. 

“It’s a special feeling to say ‘we’ve been here for over 100 years,’” said Mason. 

Once a mixed grain and cattle business, the farm now known as Mason Farm Ltd., got out of running cattle in the 1980’s because as Mason said his father felt he couldn’t do both.

Direct seeding and continuous cropping now takes place on the 6, 000 acres the Mason farm occupies located just north of Delia.

Wheatland County

Addison Tower Jr. came to Canada in 1905, following the death of his father by a tornado back home in Nebraska. In 1906, Addison brought his mother and sister to join him and they filed for a homestead a few kilometres north and west of Gleichen. Terry Tower and his family now run Tower Ranches..

The Tower family have about 2,500 acres in crops of wheat, barley and canola. 

Selection process

The Alberta Agricultural Service Board selects the BMO Farm Family Award recipients based on their contribution to their community and their farming expertise. The awards are meant to recognize families who take an innovative approach to their business in the agriculture industry and demonstrate a commitment to traditional western values.

 

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