When the 2018 edition of the Farmer Recognition Award was presented at the Grain Millers Harvest Showdown a family well-known in the Charolais cattle sector were the recipients.
Carey and LeeAnn Weinbender, who along with their family; Sarah, Laura and Dale, collectively operate Sliding Hills Charolais, received the award at the grain awards night Thursday.
“This is a very great honour for us,” LeeAnn told those in attendance, adding it is gratifying to be recognized in a business you have to immerse yourself in every day.
“I think we’ve lived, slept, breathed agriculture all our lives,” she said. “… It’s pretty overwhelming.”
“We’re pretty honoured,” Carey would later tell Yorkton This Week.
Carey said many of their efforts were successful because of the support of others.
“We’ve been fortunate to work with great people,” he said.
The award is not the first for the family.
The Saskatchewan Charolais Association formerly presented its major annual award to a Canora-area farm family presenting them with the Breeder of the Year award during Canadian Western Agribition in 2017.
The combination of awards essentially marks a quarter century-plus of dedication to their farm and to Charolais cattle.
In the case of Carey and LeeAnn the award also marks nearly a quarter of a century of dedication to the Charolais breed.
Carey’s grandfather ran commercial cattle running Charolais bulls for a number of years, then in 1993 Carey and LeeAnn purchased their first purebred Charolais when they were looking for a way to diversify their cattle operation to become a little more specialized, opting to get into the purebred seedstock business.
Today the family operates 14 quarters of land, half dedicated to grain production, the other half for hay and pasture for their herd of 120-cows, most being purebred Charolais with a small commercial herd used for embryo transfers.
The purebred business does mean more management than having a straight commercial herd with the work coming in keeping records in particular the detail of following bloodlines.
It also means marketing the genetics which the Weinbenders have done the past 12-years by hosting a production sale selling bulls each April, the most recent sales being held on the farm.
While the purebred herd has meant more on-farm attention needed, the Weinbenders have also always found time to give back to the breed on a broader level, involvement that was part of the reason for the Farmer Recognition Award.
Carey sat on the provincial association board for nine years, the last year as president.
And that philosophy has passed onto the Weinbenders children who have all been involved in 4-H and the junior Charolais program.
LeeAnn noted the children have been very involved in the breed youth association, adding daughter Sarah was the junior national president in 2015, the year the national youth conference for Charolais was held in Yorkton.
Carey and LeeAnn were also chosen the 2015 Honoree Winners at the Canadian Charolais Youth Association Conference and Show hosted in Yorkton.
LeeAnn said at the time of the 2015 conference the junior program teaches dedication, handwork, co-operation, and a good work ethic, things which are important beyond the cattle industry.
Following Thursday’s presentation LeeAnn said it is important to give time to having youth involved in the farm and agriculture programs.
“We need our youth in agriculture,” she said. “It’s great for us to see our kids in the industry.”