Thursday, 21 December 2017 06:34

Orville Yanke Award goes to Picture Butte resident

Written by  Demi Knight
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ROn Svanes gets his Orville Yanke award from Wayne Linwell. ROn Svanes gets his Orville Yanke award from Wayne Linwell. Demi Knight

The Annual Farming Smarter Conference honoured a man dedicated to giving significant contributions to the Agriculture industry across southern Alberta over his lifetime this December with their Orville Yanke Award.


Ron Svanes, who has spent his life working within the industry, received the honour Dec. 6 during the Farming Smarter conference thanks to his undying love and giving nature to the industry so vital to many across the prairies.
“Ron has brought vision from all over the world to his farm,” said Wayne Linwall, who presented the award to Svanes during a presentation that highlighted his work within the industry. “I’ve had the great privilege of knowing Ron for 50 years and he has made many significant contributions to agriculture, specifically in agriculture research and extensions in all of southern Alberta.”
The Orville Yanke Award, which is a prestigious honour to receive within the farming industry is a memorial award named in honour of one of southern Alberta’s earliest and most ardent soil conservation leaders.
Orville Yanke, who was a farmer from Medicine Hat, played a pivotal role founding the Southern Albertan Conservation Association and the Southern Applied Research Association, both organizations which went on to merge together in 2012 to form the Farming Smarter organization.
Since 2009, Farming Smarter has worked to present this memorial award to celebrate a farmer or researcher whose contributions have significantly impacted soil conservation research and extension in southern Alberta, and thanks to his lifelong work within the industry, Svanes was the ninth recipient to receive this prestigious award.
Svanes who graduated from the University of Alberta in 1971 with a major in Economics had a plan upon graduation to return and continue working on his family-run grain farm just north of Picture Butte. The farm was founded in 1905 by his uncle and he spent his life devoted to doing just that.
Today, Svanes, his wife Edith, his daughter Mandy and her husband Jason Zienstra manage the farm that has been active within the community for over a decade. With a keen sense to share his resources and expertise Svanes has also hosted several tours over the decades from places far and wide from China and Australia, to France, Quebec and the United States as well as offering an area for applied research to take place on his farm for many industry research professionals. However, his contributions don’t stop there.
“Ron Svanes’ contributions to agriculture in southern Alberta span his entire lifetime. During his active career, Ron served on a number of organizations including: Alberta Agriculture Research Institute (AARI); Canada Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture (CAESA); Dryland Salinity Control Association (DSCA) and the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan (AEFP),” says Jamie Puchinger, assistant manager for Farming Smarter.
Svanes also taught farm management courses under Gear Up Financially with Alberta Ag, as well as toured the Melbourne area of southern Australia with his wife and several other members of AEPP to promote and explain the program to farmers and government officials across the ocean. Svanes is also the president of the Prairie Tractor and Engine Museum Society in Picture Butte that operates a pioneer style village names Coyote Flats.
In recognition and honouring his lifetime contributions, Svanes was presented the award during the final day of this year’s conference on Dec. 6 by Linwall his fellow farming researcher and friend, where he accepted the honour with gratitude and grace.
“Thank you Farming Smarter for the nomination, it means a lot to me, it’s a really proud moment for me,” said Svanes as he stood upon the stage to accept his award.  “Edith and I have been working on our centennial farm on our own since 1972 and it’s been so fun, the people I’ve met along the way have made it all worthwhile — thank you so much.”

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