Mike, left, Cora, Lucas, Dawn and Emma Williams live on a busy life on their farm. Mike and Dawn have full time jobs and manage the operation around their schedules. The kids are bussed to a rural school just 10 minutes away — the same school Mike and his parents attended.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Alta. ranch operators keen on tackling new ventures

On the Farm: Besides full-time jobs, the Williams family raises Boer-cross goats, pigs and chickens and grows pumpkins for local customers

PONOKA, Alta. — Mike Williams had given up on his youthful dream of farming. The dairy where he grew up had been sold years earlier. He and his wife, Dawn, both had jobs in town and they were happy enough. “I was telling this to a friend,” says Mike. “Then he told me about a […] Read more

Bernie Bystrom, left checks a canola field’s readiness for combining Sept. 12 with his sons, Doug and John.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Father and sons enjoy farming with each other

On the Farm: The Bystroms feel the pros of farming outweigh the cons and like the sense of freedom they get from it

SYLVAN LAKE, Alta. — Brothers John and Doug Bystrom have a standing coffee date most afternoons at 3:30 p.m. with their dad, Bernie, at his farm. The trio, partners in Bystrom Farms Ltd., discuss their crops and livestock, who’s doing what and where, and the daily goings-on in their neighbourhood, as well as the wider […] Read more

Darren Grose shows Rodono’s newly developed product, the retracting transfer conversion kit. It is an add-on to existing air seeder cart augers or belts and adds the functionality to extend and pivot under a hopper bottom trailer.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Alberta family manufactures a productive life for itself

The Groses have been inventing and building a variety of agricultural equipment on their farm near Clive, Alta., for the past 32 years

CLIVE, Alta. — There’s a lot going on at Rodono Industries Ltd., an agricultural equipment manufacturing business owned and operated by the Grose family. Vehicles come and go from the yard site, located on Jim and Faye Grose’s grain farm near this central Alberta community. Within Rodono’s 20,000 sq. foot building, the front office phone […] Read more


Krystal Braam, left, Freda Molenkamp-Oudman and Howard Oudman stand in front of colourful supers in the cold storage area at the farm’s honey house. Oudman is mentoring Braam in beekeeping.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Honey producers earn sweet reward

A couple from central Alberta got into the beekeeping business by accident and now they help others succeed

LACOMBE, Alta. — Nestled in the grass near a field of brilliant canola sits a bee yard containing multi-coloured hives, most in shades of green, yellow, pink, red, and coral. The cheerful colour scheme identifies the hives as belonging to Howard Oudman and Freda Molenkamp-Oudman. Stacked among them are a few hives owned by Krystal […] Read more

Steve, left, Max and Nicky Breum operate Gone Green Farms in a long, lush valley near Westerose, Alta., where Steve’s family has lived since the early 1930s. The couple appreciates the versatility, manoeuvrability, and affordability of this Oggun tractor, which they bought last year. It has helped manage their five acres of market garden. They like the fact that parts are available off the shelf at farm supply stores, auto parts retailers and online.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Alberta farm raises produce for food banks

A decline in business prompted the initiative, and more than 31,000 pounds of root vegetables were delivered last year

WESTEROSE, Alta. — Steve and Nicky Breum’s 320-acre Gone Green Farms sits in a long lush valley in central Alberta not far from Pigeon Lake, one of the busiest recreation areas in the province. The couple raise livestock including Highland cattle, pigs, geese and ducks, but it’s their five acres of vegetable gardens that keep […] Read more


Nynke, left, and Lykele Miedema visit ther elk cows near Millet, Alta.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Dutch immigrants find land of opportunity

MILLET, Alta. — It was a chance for a new life, and the Dutch couple knew they had to at least give it a try. “We wanted to go the land of opportunity,” said Nynke Miedema, recalling the hopes and dreams she and husband, Lykele, shared when they left the Netherlands for Canada in 1983. […] Read more

The unveiling of a monumental lure took place June 1 at the annual Kids Can Fish event, where the Len Thompson Community Fish Pond was restocked with yearling rainbow trout. Children had the opportunity to personally carry the young fish down to the water in pails and release them into the water. The Lacombe Fish & Game Association was on hand with a hundred fishing poles to lend to those who wanted to try their hand at fishing. |  Maria Johnson photo

Alberta family celebrates fishing lure milestone

From humble beginnings to world records, Thompson-Pallister Bait Co. celebrates 90 years in monumental fashion

LACOMBE, Alta. — Thompson-Pallister Bait Co. Ltd. celebrated its 90th anniversary in a monumental fashion. On June 1, the fourth generation family business unveiled what is possibly the world’s largest fishing lure; a 27.5 foot model of its classic red and yellow Five-Of-Diamonds spoon, the company’s most popular lure. Together with a 14-foot hook, the […] Read more

Joel Martens, riding Quigley, heads out to track the prey after a 20 minute head start.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Alta. chase game pits predator against prey

Ranch Tracker contestants must find flags hidden over 150 acres before being caught by a hunter on horseback

RED DEER — For competitive thrill seekers, a game of Ranch Tracker may provide the adrenaline rush many seek. The playing field is 150 acres of heavily treed, gently rolling hills at the Heritage Ranch recreation area surrounded on three sides by the curving Red Deer River. It’s a giant game of hide and seek. […] Read more


Stephen, left, Hayes, Kett and Nicole Poburan at home on their farm. | Maria Johnson photo

Choosing a rural lifestyle, for the family’s sake

On the Farm: Research into holistic nutrition convinced the Poburans that they wanted 
to grow their own food

SPRUCE VIEW, Alta. — Stephen and Nicole Poburan have made a deliberate decision to raise their family on the farm so that they can give their two young sons, Hayes, 5, and Kett, 19 months, a lifestyle the city just can’t provide. On their home at 4Acres Farm they raise Nigerian dwarf goats and kunekune […] Read more

Pendryl General Store co-owner Kim Butters visits with customer Dallas Duffy of Buck Lake, Alta.  |  Maria Johnson photo

History reveals store’s many faces

A booming pizza business has become the latest chapter in the fascinating story behind the Pendryl General Store

WINFIELD, Alta. — Kim Butters recalls the day she and husband Jerry Zimmerman took over management of Pendryl General Store from a shared arrangement with her parents, Marilyn Butters and Emile Snoxell. It was Jan. 13, 2000, a bitter cold day. Kim was doing inventory, tediously counting items of fishing gear. “Mom walked out from […] Read more