Greg and Sarah Stamp of Stamp Seeds in Enchant, Alta. and Brad and Travis Hopcott with Hopcott Farms in Pitt Meadows, B.C. were picked as national winners of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers (COYF) 2023 at the national event held in Laval, Que., a Nov. 27 news release said.
“Every year the regional finalists challenge the judges like never before. The future of agriculture is in good hands as long as young farmers like the ones that gathered at the COYF national program in Laval are in involved. They all showcased incredible operations. Greg and Sarah Stamp of Stamp Seeds and Travis and Brad Hopcott of Hopcott Farms will be exceptional ambassadors for Canadian agriculture,” Danny Penner, COYF president, said in the release.
Stamp Seeds started as a partnership with Greg’s parents but in 2006 it became three separate operations run by Greg and his brothers, Nathan and Matthew, the release said. The operations include Stamp Seeds, a retail pedigreed seed: Stamp Farms, production of pedigreed seed for retail and contracts: and Flourish Farms which is crop land. The pedigreed seed operation is 7,000 acres, of which 5,000 acres is under irrigation and 2,000 acres are dryland farmed.
“In the beginning custom work helped cash flow. Growing contract seed for others allowed Greg to expand the retail seed business and build a customer base. Although minimum till was being practiced on the farm, they created management zones and now use benchmark soil sampling to better manage their fertility,” the release said.
The release noted on-farm field days, newsletters and social media have helped build awareness of the varieties produced. Sarah has been instrumental in developing management and succession plans to allow all the families to farm together.
Hopcott Farms started as a dairy farm ran by Brad and Travis’ father, and is now an 1,000 head beef feedlot with forage production, on-farm abattoir, 72-acre cranberry farm and a 17,000 square foot retail store and wedding venue. The release noted Brad is in charge of the beef, Travis cranberries and their sister Jennifer runs the retail and wedding venue. Recently the farm renovated 20 per cent of their cranberry acres introducing new varieties to double production. A water reservoir system allows the 30 million gallons of water to be recycled in the cranberry bogs during the harvest season. To allow for full integration of the beef operation, a $5 million abattoir was added to the operation in 2022.
“Utilizing waste tissue composting units allows for the integration of animal waste back into the forage fields. Having receiving support through the management transition, Brad and Travis hope to return the favour and mentor future B.C. farmers,” the release said.