Keswick Ridge apple farmers win Young Farmers Award
“The worst day farming is better than any other day I’ve had working in any other industry.”
Andrew Lovell, owner of River View Orchards in Keswick Ridge, N.B. says he is still surprised that he and his wife, Jennifer Lovell, have been named the Outstanding Young Farmers for Atlantic Region.
"It was almost like, how could this be happening to me?," said Lovell.
"It didn't seem possible. There's so many other good producers in Atlantic Canada that I was kind of like, how could I have been chosen for this, all I've done is my job."
The 38-year-old farmer told CBC's Shift winning something like this had never crossed his mind. Even when the apple producer was told he had been nominated, he didn't believe it. But he followed the process, which he said looks at every aspect of your involvement in the industry.
"They look at the boards you sit on, the kinds of things you do for your industry, and how you contribute. They even look at your financials."
While Lovell is honoured and humbled by the award, he is still in disbelief that he was chosen over so many other farmers in Atlantic Canada.
Lovell and Jennifer are now up for the national outstanding farmers award with seven other farmers, all under the age of 40.
First generation farmer
"I work really hard for agriculture because I want to see young people get into it and I don't want to see any of them say 'well, I can't do it' or 'no, you know it's impossible', because it's not impossible," said Lovell. "If I did it then anybody can."
Lovell is a first generation farmer who says he loved farming from the time he was five years old.
"I used to watch the neighbouring dairy farmer make hay, and plow his fields, work with his cows. I just loved it."
Lovell says being farmer is everything he hoped for and more.
"The great people you get to meet and the support that you get from other producers, no matter the commodity whether it's dairy or chicken or beef or vegetable growers, it doesn't matter."
He said there is a camaraderie among farmers that soans across Canada.
"They have the same issues and problems that we have and they have the same successes that we have," said Lovell.
The apple grower says it's unfortunate that most stories on farming are negative and deal with how hard it is to make a living.
"To me, there's nothing like agriculture, and I think that our kids in school should have the chance to learn about it as a potential career option for themselves," said Lovell.
"It's like anything else, there's going to be hard times, that's life. But it's how you deal with those times and those difficulties that will set you apart and create future opportunity."
Lovell said it is expensive to get into apple farming. It costs $25,000 to plant one acre of apple trees that will have a 20 to 25 year life span. He has plans to plant 10 acres of new trees next year.
Farmers in New Brunswick are able to access the perennial crop establishment loan, which provides funds to assist with planting crops and repayment begins when the first crop comes in.
"Those loans are available to anybody with a good business plan, a little bit of land, and some know-how to put the project together."
When asked about the next generation of farming in his family, Lovell said his 11-year-old son is very involved with the apple orchard.
"My son lives and breathes farming. He has no interest in anything else, and if he had his way, he'd quit school, and go farming today. He loves everything about it."
Lovell says he never talks negatively about farming to his son, and treats his farm like a business which has good years and bad years.
"The worst day farming is better than any other day I've had working in any other industry."