Southern Alberta farm families honoured by BMO

Calgary – The Calgary Stampede and BMO Bank of Montreal today recognized 16 southern Alberta families for their outstanding contributions to Alberta’s agricultural sector at the 17thannual BMO Farm Family Awards.


“What these outstanding farm families demonstrate is how far farm management has come, as a result of vast changes in technology and business and sustainability practices,” said Mike Darling, vice-president, Southern Alberta Commercial District, BMO Bank of Montreal.  “As a bank, we need to keep pace and provide financial solutions that are innovative to be able to match progress.”


The Hon. Verlyn Olson, QC, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, was on hand along with Stampede executive and board members and BMO agribankers to congratulate the recipients of the 2013 BMO Farm Family Awards.


“Alberta’s farm families are the backbone of our rural communities, and their spirit and hard work have made our province into what it is today,” says Verlyn Olson, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. “As agriculture continues to grow and evolve, exceptional farm families like these will continue to have an important role in driving our agriculture industry.”


“Family and agriculture lie at the heart of the Stampede’s values,” says Bob Thompson, president and chairman of the board. “As Alberta becomes increasingly urban, we strive to find ways to draw connections back to our rural surroundings and roots. The families being recognized today embody that connection. Their contributions and community involvement enrich all of our lives and the municipal districts of southern Alberta have handpicked the families you see here today.”


Survey: Canadians Believe it is Important to Support Canadian Family Farms


In celebrating the BMO Farm Family award winners, Mr. Darling also revealed the results of a BMO study conducted earlier in June that asked Canadians how they perceive the family farm. Not surprisingly, Canadians overwhelmingly agree that running a family farm is a difficult job (97 per cent) and that it is important to support Canadian family farms (98 per cent).


“The best way for Albertans to show their support for the family farm is through their wallet,” said Darling.  “The BMO survey confirmed that nearly all Canadians would be more likely to buy produce if they knew it was grown on a Canadian family farm.  Albertans are also top of the ‘buy local beef’ band wagon.  At 74 per cent, consumers in Alberta are more likely to buy local beef versus 60 per cent for the national average.”


The results of the survey demonstrate the importance of Alberta’s agricultural sector to consumers. Agriculture has been a constant theme of the Calgary Stampede and an important component of BMO Bank of Montreal’s commercial banking business in the province.


The BMO Farm Family Award recipients were chosen for this honour by the Alberta Agricultural Service Board based on the difference they have made to the farming community. The awards highlight many innovations and skilled business and environmental practices of Alberta farmers and ranchers within an industry that also upholds western heritage and family values.


The winners of the 2013 BMO Farm Family Awards are:

Farm Name

Family Name

Nominated by

Char-Maine Ranching

Steven & Darilyn Quinton

Cardston County

Bruket Family

David & Debbie Bruketa

Foothills MD

Merlind Farms

Merle, Ella, Lindsey, Cory Nelson

Forty Mile County

Bertsch Custom Farms Ltd

Neil Bertsch

Kneehill County

Atkinson Family Farm

Marty & Nancy Atkinson

Lethbridge County

Spraggs Meat Shop

Greg & Bonnie Spragg

Newell County

MX Ranch

Malcom Main

Pincher Creek MD

Malyk Family

Lloyd, Gary, Kay & Debbie Malyk

Rocky View County

Finkbeiner Family

Steward & Marion Finkbeiner

Special Area #2

Beier Family

Danny & Anna Beier

Special Area #4

Windmill Lane Farm

Craig Russell

Starland County

Zelenk Farms Ltd.

Robert & Carol Zelenka

Taber MD

Lazy T Diamond Ranch

Brent Smith

Vulcan County

Nelson Family Ranch Ltd

Jeff Nelson

Warner County

Dalbey Farm

Olav & Rita Pallesen

Wheatland County

D4 Farms

Shane, Mary-Ann & Travis Doyle

Willow Creek MD


Each family was presented with a personalized farm gate sign and tickets to the Calgary Stampede Rodeo.


Detailed biographies and photos are available at


The BMO survey results cited are from online interviews with a random sample of 1,000 Canadians, 18 years of age and over, conducted by Pollara between June 14 and June 17, 2013. A probability sample of this size would yield a margin of error of ±3.1%, 19 times out of 20.


About the Calgary Stampede

As we enter our second century, the Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west.  The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned 10-day Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values.  All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.


About BMO and the Calgary Stampede

BMO Bank of Montreal’s ties to the Calgary Stampede are long and remarkable. The relationship between BMO and the Calgary Stampede is the oldest business relationship in Western Canada, dating back to 1884. BMO has been the banker to the Calgary Exhibition since 1899 when lands were christened at Victoria Park.  The Agricultural Society had purchased 94 acres of land from the Dominion of Canada and built a race track, cattle sheds and an exhibition building. BMO continued as the banker in 1912 when the first rodeo took place and it became the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede.