The opportunity to rent land from former Saskatchewan Outstanding Young Farmers winners a dozen years ago led Jason and Jenna Ranger to the same title yesterday.
The judges selected the couple from Shellbrook during the competition at Canada’s Farm Progress Show.
Jason grew up on a farm near Leask and, after a year studying agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan, had the chance in 2006 to take on 2,400 acres from 2001 provincial and national winners John Cote and Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote.
He didn’t go back to school, opting to take shorter courses while farming.
Today, the farm is nearly 11,000 acres, spread out about 80 kilometres north to south on several different land types.
That does lead to some logistical challenges, Jason said.
They grow primarily canola, wheat, oats and some lentils.
“Farming was all I ever wanted to do when I was growing up. I never knew if that was going to be a reality for sure or not,” he said.
Jenna, who grew up in Alberta on a mixed farm near Manyberries and Medicine Hat, is a dentist. She has a practice in Prince Albert and is chief of dentistry at Victoria Hospital, where she does dental surgery on children.
She describes her role on the farm as “excellent parts picker-upper” and emotional support, but her own business keeps her busy, as does two-year-old daughter Bridget.
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“We both have very demanding and challenging careers, but I feel that makes us both very driven people,” Jenna said.
“Even though we have separate businesses, we are both very hard working.”
She told the laughing audience about how they met — her friends placed a personal ad online — and their farm show connection.
“He was selling his sister’s car and saw my ad and immediately responded,” Jenna said. “He was vetted by all my classmates and we met, went on our first date, and our second date was actually at the Farm Progress Show 11 years ago.”
The Rangers say the rapid expansion of their farm has slowed because it is now at a good size.
“Now it’s about improving our business and trying to make it better any way that we can,” Jason said.
He said they are honoured to represent Saskatchewan this year at the national competition in Fredericton, N.B., in December.
The two other nominated couples were Scott and Heather Langelaar from Piro Poultry Farms at Waldheim and Allison Squires and Cody Straza from Upland Organics at Wood Mountain.