GUELPH — Hog and cash crop producers, Stewart Skinner and Jessica Kelly, of Imani Farms Ltd., Listowel, were named Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2023 at the Ontario Region’s Recognition Event held Aug 17 at Thatcher Farms in Rockwood.
Stewart and Jessica met at the Ontario Pork Congress. They both have had agricultural related careers and completed their masters degrees from University of Guelph. In 2015, Jessica and Stewart began their farm operation after taking over part of Stewart’s family farm.
Imani Farms Ltd. produces 25,000 hogs for conventional and niche markets. The hogs are produced in three different systems — conventionally, certified humane and certified organic. They also work 167 acres for cash crops. Stewart and Jessica’s innovative approach to human resource management, of their fifteen employees, and finances have helped grow their operation to what it is today.
In their spare time, Stewart writes for Ontario newspapers while Jessica enjoys working with Ontario Farm Market farmers. Stewart is also a strong advocate for mental health.
The Ontario Region of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program were pleased and proud to have two diverse and impressive operations at the 2023 Regional Event. The nominees recognized were:
Stewart Skinner and Jessica Kelly — Imani Farms Ltd., Listowel
Derek and Jen Van Dieten — Van Dieten Dairy Farms, Seaforth
President of the National OYF board, Danny Penner attended the event and had this comment, “It was so exciting to take part in Ontario’s Regional Event hosted by alumni Adam and Dana Thatcher in their new event centre on their farm just outside of Guelph. The evening was well attended by sponsors, alumni, family and friends. Hog producers, Stewart Skinner and Jesssica Kelly of Imani Farms Ltd. shared with us a great presentation. They will make a fantastic addition to the 2023 National event in Laval.”
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2023 will be chosen at the National event in Laval Quebec from November 22-26, 2023.