By Kristy Nudds
January 16, 2015 – A young man who was “born to farm” is the recipient of the 2015 B.C. and Yukon Outstanding Young Farmer Award.
Abbotsford chicken grower Kerry Froese and his wife Anita, both 37, received the prestigious award from outgoing B.C. & Yukon Outstanding Young Farmer program chair Jennifer Woike and judges Walt Goerzen, Lisa Taylor and Al Timms during a small ceremony in Abbotsford, Jan. 15th.
Froese’s parents began with a broiler breeder and raspberry farm, later adding a broiler farm. After Froese began managing the farms in his teens, the family converted the entire operation to broilers.
“Having multiple barns in multiple locations made management a challenge and cleanout of the barns after each eight-week growing cycle long and difficult,” Froese recalls.
In the early 2000’s, the family consolidated the quotas into Triple F (Froese Family Farm) Enterprises and built two new double-decker 500X52-foot barns on a new 20-acre property.
“We went from 15 floors with minimal automation in two locations to four floors with state-of -the- art automation on one farm,” Froese says.
Froese has since added in-barn cameras, weigh scales and innovative LED attraction lights to improve production and a large air compressor and thermal jet fogger to make cleaning and disinfection faster and more thorough.
While producing 1.9 million kgs of chicken/year might be enough for most, Froese’s passion is to be an “AGvocate” for supply management and for young people in agriculture. He is a founding member of B.C. Young Farmers and president of the Canadian Young Farmers Forum.
After serving as vice-president and president of the B.C. Chicken Growers Association, Froese was elected to the B.C. Chicken Marketing Board in 2013. His efforts to promote agriculture and willingness to poke fun at himself were clearly evidenced when he played the villain in the extremely popular You Tube “Chicken Squad” videos the BCCGA produced last year.
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.
The BCOYF program is sponsored by the B.C. Broiler Hatching Egg Commission, B.C. Egg Producers Association, B.C. Holstein News, B.C. Milk Marketing Board, Clearbrook Grain & Milling, Country Life in BC, Farm Credit Canada, Prairie Coast Equipment and Ritchie Smith Feeds.
Kerry and Anita Froese will represent B.C. at the national OYF competition in Edmonton in November. The national competition is supported by AdFarm, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Annex Business Media, Bayer Crop Science, CIBC and John Deere.