Blackhurst Ranch nominated for Farm Family-of-the-Year Award

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Blackhurst Ranch in the High Prairie region has been nominated by Big Lakes County for the 2022 BMO Farm-Family of-the-Year Award for northern Alberta.
At its regular meeting Sept. 28, council confirmed the nomination for the annual award that will be presented at the Farm Fair International Conference Nov 9-12 in Edmonton.
The Blachurst family was the only nomination the county received, Brett Hawken, director of community and protective services, told council.
Blackhurst brothers George and Ted and their families have been committed to agriculture, the community and the High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo for decades.
“Both families dug roots in the community by getting active as long-standing volunteers in the local rodeo and getting involved in the High Prairie provincial grazing reserve,” the nomination states.
For 50 years, farm families from northern and central Alberta communities have been recognized as the recipients of the Farm Family Award.
Agricultural Service Boards in northern and central Alberta select outstanding families who best represent values of the family farm within their rural community.
The award honours both their farming business practices and community involvement.
Each recipient receives a commemorative gate sign and are honoured at the Farm Family Awards Gala.
The Blackhurst Ranch family farm was established in 1980 by Robert and Annie Blackhurst and their six children, George, Ted, Kathy, Bette, Rose, and Joy, the nomination states.
The family moved north from the Alder Flats area looking to expand the scope of their ranching operations. George and Ted, with the guiding hand of their father, established Black- hurst Ranch Ltd. in 1993.
The two sons started families of their own.
George met Kathy Robinson and Ted met Leigh Turcotte and the two families took over the Blackhurst Ranch.
The two families have expanded their operation and now run about 1,800 head of cattle in the Prairie Echo community of Big Lakes County.
They run their operation firmly from the saddle having oriented their operation to keep as much of the management as possible on horseback.
Their rotational strategies, calving timing, winter feeding, and sales strategies all seek to trim out as much mechanical dependency as possible and to utilize their family strength in the saddle.
In time, both couples further put in roots with all their children born in the county.
George and Kathy have three adult boys—Brett, Chase, and Taylor—all of whom stay active on the ranch and are looking to expand their involvement.
Ted and Leigh have one teenage daughter, Gillian.
With children added to the mix, both couples expanded their community involvement into minor sports and 4-H activities.
The ranch also contributes to local governance through involvement with the Big Lakes County agricultural advisory committee.
In addition to their working and volunteer contributions to the community as ranchers, both Kathy and Leigh contribute their personal skill sets into the workforce of High Prairie. Kathy works in materials management at the High Prairie Health Complex and Leigh works as the librarian at St. Andrew’s School.

Share this post