Outstanding Young Farmer Program
The Outstanding Young Farmers Program recognizes next-generation farmers who demonstrate excellence in their profession.
How the program works
The Saskatchewan Outstanding Young Farmers Program is run by the Outstanding Young Farmers alumni. The nomination criteria includes:
- Individual, couple or managing partner/shareholder
- Makes majority of farm management decisions
- Derives a minimum of two-thirds gross revenue from farming
- Less than 40 years of age as of January 1, 2023
Each year, an honouree is selected to represent each of the seven regions across Canada. These seven honourees are then recognized for their achievements at the National Outstanding Young Farmers event.
Saskatchewan’s 2022 Outstanding Young Farmers
Cody Straza & Allison Squires of Upland Organics Ltd. of Wood Mountain
Cody Straza & Allison Squires own and operate Upload Organics Ltd. Near Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan, along with their three sons: Declan, Gavin, and Caden.
Cody grew up on a farm in the Wood Mountain area and completed an Engineering degree at the University of Saskatchewan. Allison was born in Newfoundland and met Cody while completing her PhD in Toxicology at the University of Saskatchewan. A few years after getting married, they realized their goal of owning their own farm in 2010 when they bought their first land together and started Upland Organics.
Being involved with several organizations on the local, provincial, national, and international levels has allowed Cody and Allison to actively give back to their community, as well as meet other innovative and successful farmers. Learning from others and through their own on-farm experimentation, they have successfully adopted farming techniques that include reduced tillage, intercropping, cover cropping, pollinator strips, and rotational grazing. Using these practices, they have shown it is possible to improve their soil and be excellent stewards of the environment while also realizing financial benefits.
Through their innovation and outreach, Cody and Allison have become leaders in organic agriculture. They have received several awards for their efforts and look forward to continuing to give back to the agriculture sector in Canada. Their ultimate goal is to pass on a thriving operation to the next generation of farmers. To do this, they are focused on doing more with less while identifying opportunities to expand their market with value added and diverse enterprises. They see many opportunities within the agriculture industry and are excited about what the future holds for the next generation of farmers.
Saskatchewan’s 2022 Outstanding Young Farmers Nominees
Lee & Ashley Eastmond of Wheatland Cattle Company – Mortlach
Lee and Ashley Eastmond operate Wheatland Cattle Company at Mortlach, Saskatchewan.
Over the years, the operation has changed from being strictly cow/calf, to backgrounding and in 2017, to taking calves out to finish. The operation also offers custom feeding, silaging and bale hauling.
Lee and Ashley are always challenging themselves to become better, think outside the box and ignite changes within the operation. Developing the feedlot and taking calves to finish has catalyzed the operation to where it is today. In 2020, they recognized that consumers had a desire for quality, locally-produced beef, and were growing more comfortable with online shopping and direct delivery, so the couple pulled up chairs around the kitchen table and began formulating a plan. Following considerable research and strategizing, they launched “Kattle Kountry Beef” with Lee’s parents and haven’t looked back.
In August 2021, Lee and Ashley purchased a local butcher shop and rebranded as Butcher Block on the Prairie. This acquisition made the operation fully vertically integrated. The philosophy of “from our family farm to your fork” is the very essence of Kattle Kountry Beef. Every roast, steak and package of ground beef can be traced back to the animal’s birth on their farm. Wheatland Cattle Company is VBP+ (Verified Beef Production) Certified, upholding the highest standards in animal health, welfare, environmental respect, and sustainability.
Garret & Jocelyn Poletz of P Cross Ranch Ltd. – Biggar
Garret and Jocelyn Poletz own and operate P Cross Ranch Ltd located near Biggar Saskatchewan.
In the last ten years, they have built a diverse cattle operation which includes a 3000 head backgrounding feedlot, 500 head cow-calf program and a salt and mineral business. They rely heavily on corn production, which gives them the ability to feed large amounts of cattle on minimal acres. They operate over 7000 acres with 3500 acres being owned land. They have three daughters Haylee, Hannah and Houstyn.
Both Garret and Jocelyn believe it’s critical to be involved in the industry through networking and organizations. Garret is currently on the Saskatchewan Cattle Feeders Association board and is the group’s representative to the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association. He credits a big part of their success from the relationships they have made in the industry. They are always looking to try new ideas and are constantly “thinking outside of the box”. Jocelyn is currently an agriculture and commercial lender and since obtaining her Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2009 has spent her entire career working full time in the agriculture sector. They are both extremely passionate about the industry and strive to help others succeed by sharing their extensive experience and knowledge.