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Ashworth family wins Weyburn Chamber's Golden Sheaf Award

Ashworth Farm and Ranch of Oungre was recognized with the 2023 Golden Sheaf Award by the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce, at the Ag Appreciation Banquet

WEYBURN – Ashworth Farm and Ranch of Oungre was recognized with the 2023 Golden Sheaf Award by the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce, at the Ag Appreciation Banquet held at McKenna Hall on Tuesday evening.

Kelly and Janice Ashworth are the third generation to farm on the land south of Oungre, with a fourth generation on the way, as they have for 115 years, with a large grain operation, and a large herd of Simmental cattle.

The Ashworths farm 100 quarters of grain land, and in 1988 Kelly purchased his first head of Simmental cattle, a herd they have built up to 400 head.

“We feel very fortunate to be farming, because ag is one of the world’s most important industries. What could be more important than to grow food for a hungry world, and to do it in a country like Canada?” said Kelly.

He was grateful for the Weyburn Chamber’s event, commenting that the words “agriculture” and “appreciation” are not often in the same sentence together.

“It’s not always viewed as a good thing, because people don’t understand what we’re doing. It’s up to us to explain what we’re doing,” he said, adding he was also grateful that RBC had nominated them for this award.

Running the farm is a “team effort”, said Kelly, with everyone in the family involved in the operations along with their hired staff, who always “go the extra effort” to get the work done.

He extended gratitude to the agrologists and suppliers who provide the needed expertise, parts and other components for the farm’s operation, along with many at the banquet who he knew as good customers. The farm and ranch holds an annual sale with 100 bulls up for auction every year.

Kelly extended recognition to his family’s forefathers who established the farm in 1908 and quipped, “We wished their wheels fell off a little later, in a spot where there weren’t so many stones.”

“We feel blessed to live where we are, and it’s a job that we love,” he added, noting a lot has changed in the 115 years the farm has been running, but some key things haven’t changed.

“Some things are exactly the same as 115 years ago. You only have so long to get your work done, and we’re still price takers. At the end of the day, you do what you can do, and manage what you can manage, and Mother Nature has a say as well,” said Kelly. “We’re so glad we do what we can, same as 115 years ago.”

He added the family very much appreciates the award, “and we will cherish it for a long time.”

The farm and ranch has grown to employ eight full-time and five part-time staff, in addition to the family members.

They employ the latest farming methods, including zero-till, crop rotations, and have installed an underground tile system to assist with drainage.

Janice serves at St. Mary’s parish in Tribune, and he is a councillor for the RM of Souris Valley, and has served as a 4-H leader.

He has served on the Saskatchewan Simmental Association board, and with the Canadian Simmental Association for the past six years. One of their sons has also been involved in the Simmental Association, and a daughter-in-law is on the board for Agribition.

A favourite charity for the family has been the STARS Air Ambulance, as STARS has transported a child twice, once in 2013 and again in 2021. The Ashworths have raised over $140,000 for STARS in appreciation of the service they provide.