A 100 Years of Farming Heritage Homestead Award has been presented to the Anderson family of Sexsmith.
Family members were recently recognized for their long-standing contributions to agriculture and the county’s heritage during an award ceremony held on their farm by the County of Grande Prairie’s Agricultural Services Board.
“We’re pleased to highlight the accomplishments of a family with a long and distinguished legacy of farming in the area and giving back to the community,” says Councillor Bob Chrenek, Chair of the Agricultural Service Board. “We wish the Anderson family continued success as they mark 100 years of farming in the County of Grande Prairie.”
The original homestead was established in 1912 by Jason Anderson’s great grandparents Swan and Carrie Anderson. They held the property until their son Fred Anderson and his wife Irene took over in 1932 and continued ownership until 1966.
At that time, Jason’s parents Larry and Vella became owners. Jason began farming full-time in 1996 and the farm was passed on to him and his wife Kodi in 2002.
“The biggest challenge of this farm would be for the first generation – leaving Minneapolis, which had electricity and running water to being here in a shack and not seeing those amenities for close to 20 years,” Jason says.
The Andersons began with 160 acres. The farm has grown to 2,700 acres with a regular rotation of wheat, barley, canola, and peas, along with trials of clover. A few acres of land are also devoted to growing certified grass seed for lawns. While there was once up to 100 head of cattle on the Anderson farm, there are now two-yard cows, a potbellied pig, peacocks, and goats.
Jason appreciates the County of Grande Prairie paying tribute to families who have farmed for more than 100 years.
“We’re very proud of our heritage and being recognized for long-term farming is a great feeling,” he says. “We’re very happy we’ve been able to continue the passion for the land. It’s something about the smell of the dirt. It’s in our blood. I was renting my first land when I was 17 years old, and I guess that was just the process to start the future.”
Applications for the 100 Years of Farming Awards are accepted throughout the year.