Families honoured for farming longevity in Saskatchewan

SASKATOON – It’s a tough business, especially in a province where the weather can be extreme, but farmers have persevered in Saskatchewan come rain or shine, some for longer than others.

Hundreds of Saskatchewan families who have maintained the same farm for more than 100 years have been recognized for their contribution to the industry.

“To overcome 100 years of farming and to be here today it’s certainly an accomplishment. It really is a testament to the perseverance of Saskatchewan people,” said Information Services Corporation’s (ISC) Ashley Dopko.

Every one of the 81 farming families that sat around the tables at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon had a story to tell.

Eighty-three-year-old Andrew Zdunich’s father broke the land on his Hanley property back in 1911.

“I was born right on that quarter in 1930 and I’m still there,” he laughs.

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“It’s kind of an honored thing for my whole family, for my father and you kind of get a little recognition,” he added.

Bill Peet is a third generation farmer and hopes the tradition will continue.

“There’s another two generations here, my son and my grandson are here and it’s my sons hope to have my grandson inherit the farm eventually,” he said.

One thing all the farmers agreed was how much things have changed over the years.

“Have they ever! Not everything is for better though,” reflects Zdunich.

“Towns were full of people and now there isn’t, there just isn’t the people around, it’s not the same anyway,” he said.

“There was four stores in our town at that time and now there’s one,” said Elaine Busch about her farming town of Hazel Dell.

Three-hundred-and-fifty-five families receive awards across the province, recognizing their contribution and dedication to the farming industry over the past century.

And it’s no mean feat in a province where winter dominates a good portion of the year.

But Zdunich says they breed them tough in the country.

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“It doesn’t do anybody any harm, work doesn’t hurt anyone,” he said.

ISC is the safe keeper of important historical documents, geographic maps and photos and celebrates the history of the province.

“ISC values the family farming tradition as it is passed down from one generation to the next,” said ISC President and CEO Jeff Stusek.

“Some of the farms being recognized this year are being run by the great-great-grandchildren of the original homesteaders,” he added.

Each family was presented with a reproduction of their original land title.

“It’s something that I’ve always looked forward to, I enjoy the history and appreciate the opportunity to get an award,” said Busch.

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