By Samantha Johnson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Beck family – Josh, Jennifer along with children Dannica, Jase and Shay – have been chosen as the 2023 Cypress County Farm Family of the Year. The family received two separate nominations for their mixed cattle and grain farm for this dual award.
“It was a humbling experience to know we stood out within the community and two people thought we were worthy of the nomination for this award. All the hard work and dedication we’ve done, I guess people are watching to see what we are doing,” said Josh.
Josh’s great-grandfather homesteaded in 1923, passing the farm onto his grandfather, then his father and now Josh and Jennifer are running the operation.
“My kids are fifth generation if they choose to take it on,” stated Josh.
The first part of the award, the BMO Family Farm Award, was presented at the Calgary Stampede earlier this month. Winning families from counties across southern Alberta were present.
“It was good, they had a brunch,” explained Josh. “Then they brought us all up on stage one at a time to present us with our farm gate plaque they had made for us and read the bio we’d given to them. They’d given us free rodeo tickets and the farm families sat together at the rodeo, so it was a nice day.”
During the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede, which runs July 26-29, the Becks will receive the second half of the award from Cypress County as Farm Family of the Year. The Becks are having a good year – in February Josh won the Orville Yanke Award for excellence in agriculture and conservation efforts in southern Alberta at the Farming Smarter conference.
Community involvement is important to Jennifer and Josh and both have always been involved. Josh is on the county’s Agricultural Services Board, is a director of the BT Grazing Association and is past president of the Hilda Water Co-op. Jennifer is president of the school parent council and involved with the Hilda Community Association. The entire family is part of the Hilda community 4-H club and 4-H district.
Farming isn’t easy and there have been some tough years, particularly with the ongoing drought of the past decade. While there are many leaders within the Hilda community attempting to discover innovative solutions, the Becks, along with learning from others, are trying out their own innovations as well, such as using cover crops to help the soil recover.
It’s an ongoing process, but the family remains positive.
“Our area is progressive in that way; we’re all working together to figure this thing out,” said Josh.