Chilliwack home to B.C.’s top young farmers

Two Chilliwack farm families finished first and second at the annual BC and Yukon Outstanding Young Farmer awards

Chilliwack has long been recognized for its agriculture production. Now it’s being recognized for the young people behind that success.

Two Chilliwack farm families finished first and second at the annual BC and Yukon Outstanding Young Farmer awards, presented last week at the BC Agriculture Gala in Abbotsford.

Peter and Nicole Tuytel of Elmbridge Farms in Chilliwack were named the winners of the 2012 Outstanding Young Farmer Award in front of about 400 people at the gala. The Tuytels received their award from B.C. Minister of Agriculture Don McRae and B.C. OYF chair Suzanne Cuthbert, a former B.C. Outstanding Young Farmer.

Last year, Peter Tuytel was named a Master Breeder by Holstein Canada, becoming B.C.’s youngest-ever Holstein Master Breeder. It’s an award which recognizes at least 15 years of superior dairy cattle breeding.

Both peter and Nicole 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.

The Tuytels will represent BC at the national OYF competition in Prince Edward Island in November. The national competition is sponsored by AdFarm, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Bayer Crop Science, CIBC and John Deere.

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