Horticulture’s newly minted stars are brothers Alex and Jordan McKay, Willowtree Farms, Port Perry, Ontario. They won the Eastern Canadian award for 2018 Outstanding Young Farmers. Their diversified business – growing more than 30 fruits and vegetables – is a case history in land use, labour management and direct-to-consumer marketing. All of these are hard feats in a highly competitive environment.
Congratulations to the McKays, their spouses and extended families. Also a shout-out to Atlantic Canada competitors, potato growers, Robert Anderson and Jill Ebbett. East Glassville, New Brunswick.
The Outstanding Young Farmer program’s mission is to discover, celebrate and recognize progress and excellence in Canadian agriculture. The program is open to farmers or couples who derive at least two-thirds of their income from farming. They must be between the ages of 18 and 39. The program nominates candidates in seven regions.
To appreciate the significance of these awards, here are the judging criteria:
1. Progress in agriculture career (25 points).
2. Environmental stewardship (25 points).
3. Production history (25 points).
4. Financial and management practices (25 points).
5. Contributions to the well-being of the community, province and nation (25 points).
6. Other information.
7. Financial progress (15 points).
8. Oral interviews (35 points).
9. National event PowerPoint presentation (25 points).