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Honouring the cream of the crop in agriculture

Three Northern Ontario farming families up for annual provincial award
Norm Koch, president of Koch Farms and Koch Logistics, has one of the larger farming operations in the Temiskaming region with an elevator complex and trucking fleet.

Two Manitoulin Island farming families and one on the Clay Belt in northeastern Ontario are the recipients of the 2018 BMO Ontario Farm Family Award.

This year’s award recipients are the Anstice Family (1039521 Ontario) and the McNaughton Family (McNaughton Farm) both of Tehkummah, and the Koch Family (Koch Farms/Agri Sales Inc.) of Earlton.

The three families are among 11 across Ontario to receive the award in recognition of their dedication to agriculture and the rural way of life.

The hardware will be handed out at the upcoming International Plowing Match in Chatham-Kent, Sept, 18-22.

The annual award, which is handed out by BMO Bank of Montreal in cooperation with the Ontario Plowmen’s Association (OPA), recognizes recipient families’ focus on sustainability, community involvement, land stewardship and adaptability in their farm management practices.

“Ontario's farm families contribute to their community and to the province in so many significant ways,” says Cathy Lasby, Ontario Plowmen's Association executive director, in an Aug. 23 news release.

“They uphold the traditions of the past while strengthening Ontario's economic growth, and it is truly an honour to recognize them.”

The BMO Ontario Farm Family Awards have celebrated 72 families since 2012. BMO’s Julie Barker-Merz, senior vice-president of its southwestern Ontario division, said they have a long history of supporting agriculture and these families’ devotion to their communities.

“The BMO Ontario Farm Family Awards recognize the contributions made by farmers across the province, from their deep roots in the community to the stewardship of the lands on which they work, and the values of hard work and commitment that they embody. These 11 families demonstrate how heritage and innovation can work hand in hand to further farming in the province.”

The International Plowing Match and Rural Expo is staged each year by the OPA, and is held in a different Ontario community each year. It attracts about 80,000 and is the largest event of its kind in North America.

The 2019 event will be held in Verner, east of Sudbury.