Featured Farm Family

Family Name:  Wikkerink (Steve & Sonja)
Where They Farm:  Bow Island (between Medicine Hat and Lethbridge)
What They Produce:  Spring wheat, durum, dried beans, sugar beets
Family Composition/Generation:  Third generation family farm (Steve, Sonja, Ashton, Bryce and Carlye) 

How did you get into farming?
I was born and raised on a farm, which my dad bought from a homesteader in about 1965.  I always loved it growing up.  I did leave the farm for about 10 years and then I had the opportunity to come back and work with my family and brothers.  I have been back on the farm full-time, since about 1999.

What do you love about farming?
The flexibility and the ability to be your own boss.  If you want to experiment with things on the farm, you’re able to do so.  I like seeing food come to life and grow.

What other activities or association work are you involved in (outside the farm)?
I was on County Council for 8 years; I am involved in our local church and our local Christian School.  I have served on other committees while on council in Bow Island and enjoy spending time with grandkids.

What types of on-farm sustainability practices do you employ?
We are on an irrigation farm, so we were raised with conventional tillage and irrigation methods.  What we are starting to play with now is reduced tillage, prescription fertilizer for individual fields and we have just recently started to cover crop.

What excites you about the future of farming?
It’s still kind of an open book.  Just entering into the regenerative agriculture phase and taking some of our specialty crops and potentially moving them to zero-till and protecting our soil better excites me.  I think as agriculture we spent so much time focusing on the health of everything above the ground, that now as we’re starting to read and study some of the things going on below the ground, that is extremely intriguing to me.

What concerns you about the future of farming?
To be honest, I feel that the involvement of government is my biggest concern.  As the government tries to control more and more things, this becomes very concerning as they’re dealing with our food supply.  Farmers have always taken care of their land as that’s what brings us our living, so we’re not purposefully going to hurt our land or our consumers.  My biggest concern is that if the government continues to try and interfere, then we’re only going to end up moving backwards.

Alberta Sugar Beet Growers

5220 – 50th Ave, Taber, AB
P.O. Box 4944, T1G 2E1
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