The Evjen family of the Valhalla area have been selected for the Pioneer Farming Family Award.
Tarril Rosvold says it is a great honour to have his family’s farming legacy acknowledged with an award.
“My family has been farming here since 1914 but there are far fewer farms now,” says Rosvold. “I’m proud to be a third-generation farmer and to be farming with my wife, Karen, son, Olin and his wife, Sarah. The fifth-generation – our grandchildren Keatyn, Torin and Lennyn – are growing up on the farm and often join me in the tractor and help with age-appropriate chores.”
The Pioneer Farming Family Award recognizes families who have lived and farmed or ranched within the County for 100 years or more. As part of the award, the county also provides a sign to recognize their years of contributions.
“Our communities have grown and evolved over the years, but our agricultural foundation continues to influence every aspect of the County,” says Councillor Bob Chrenek, Chair of the Agricultural Service Board. “As a token of our appreciation, we honour these families for their significant role in contributing to our heritage.”
Rosvold’s grandfather, Ingebrigt Evjen, first immigrated to Canada from Norway in 1912, arriving in Bawlf, AB. After spending a year learning English, he applied for a homestead in the Peace Country, settling in 1914 at SW-17-74-9-W6M, east of Valhalla Centre.
“It was a simple life with a lot of good times mixed with hardships. The Valhalla area was all bush at the time. He had to break every acre and spent winters working in sawmills. They built and lived in a shack until they could build a house. When my grandmother, Ane Velve arrived in 1922, they married and used apple boxes as chairs, farming with a single team of horses.”
His grandfather’s ability to speak English saw him going to Edmonton to buy cattle for his Norwegian neighbours, bringing them back by rail. Milk sales to a creamery in Valhalla allowed for his growing family to buy groceries.
Since then, the operation has grown to well over 200 head of cattle.
Members of the family were recognized by the County of Grande Prairie’s Agricultural Services Board for their contributions to agriculture and the County’s heritage during an award ceremony at their farm in La Glace on June 11.