Area ranch on national stage

He may not have captured the big prize, but it’s still been a pretty good ride for the 2009 Outstanding Young Farmer for Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

He may not have captured the big prize, but it’s still been a pretty good ride for the 2009 Outstanding Young Farmer for Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

Geoff Hoar, who operates San Emideo Ranch Corp. near Innisfail, returned recently from the Canadian Outstanding Young Farmer awards program in Ottawa. He earned the trip after winning the regional title last February, and was one of seven finalists in the running for the national title.

Although the 34-year-old wasn’t able to add another trophy to his mantle, he said the trip east was well worth it. He and his counterparts toured a number of landmark sites during their nearly one-week’s stay in the national capital, including a visit to Parliament, where they sat in on question period.

The 2009 Canadian Outstanding Young Farmer title went to Greg and Tania MacKenzie of Stratford, P.E.I., and Grant and Colleen Dyck of Niverville, Man.

But Hoar said all of the finalists stood out.

“Just about every one of them is outside the box just a little bit.

“They’re all kind of innovative.”

In addition to sharing details about their agricultural operations, including financial records and production history, the finalists were interviewed by judges and had to conduct a presentation to a group of about 150 people.

Hoar believes he’s had a lasting impact on the program by virtue of the fact San Emideo Ranch is not a typical farm. It trains horses in western disciplines like cutting and working cow horse techniques, as well as in other areas like dressage and jumping, and also shows and markets horses.

“The equine world has typically fallen out of traditional agriculture,” he said, explaining that many people associate Outstanding Young Farmer winners with “a thousand acres of canola and three combines.”

Being named Outstanding Young Farmer for Alberta and the Northwest Territories also brought him good exposure, added Hoar. He’s been the subject of past stories in the Advocate, Alberta Venture, The Western Producer and Grainews.

“I think a lot of it gets really busy now,” he said of his obligations as the 2009 Outstanding Young Farmer.

“I’ve got to give a bunch of talks.”

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