Freetown couple awarded 2012 Atlantic Outstanding Young Farmers

Moncton, NB [March 23, 2012] – Mark Bernard already had a business diploma from PEI’s Holland College in-hand when he began to feel the pull of the family farm. He attended the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) in 2004, where he met his wife Sally. Together, the couple identified the potential for a growing market for organics in the Maritimes and established Barnyard Organics Ltd. in Freetown, PEI.

Mark and Sally were recently chosen as Atlantic’s 2012 Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) at an event in Moncton, NB. Primarily producing organic grain and oilseeds, the couple also raises broiler chickens, layer hens and sheep, and operate a grain cleaning and soybean roasting operation.

“Mark and Sally recognized the opportunity for organics in PEI, and they went for it,” says Luanne Lynn, 2nd vice president with Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers program. “They’re running a successful farm business working with large and small scale farmers, custom roasting, and farm gate sales. We are fortunate to have the Bernards among the OYF alumni family.”

Mark’s family farm was originally a potato farm, and when his father retired, it was being rented out while Mark continued his education. Sally grew up on a small mixed family farm in New Brunswick, and brought her livestock knowledge to PEI, where Mark began the process of certifying the 550 acres of land that would become Barnyard Organics.

Shipping mostly bulk quantities of grain directly to large scale livestock producers, Mark also deals with many small scale farmers, filling smaller orders. The meat and eggs are sold direct to customers via the farm gate. While the roaster is used primarily for value-adding on the farm, it is also available for custom roasting of organic and non-GMO beans. The farm has also recently taken on the role as dealer for Bio Ag, a company specializing in non-GMO agricultural minerals, supplements and fertilizers.

Mark and Sally were awarded Farmer of the Year by the Certified Organic Producers Coop in 2009, and the NSAC’s Young Alumni Achievement Award in 2011.

Mark and Sally have a young family Lucy, (4), Wilson (2) and Thayne (1) and are active in their community. Mark and Sally are active members of the Summerside Presbyterian Church, and Sally sits on the board for the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network.

Celebrating 32 years of identifying great agricultural successes, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer CropScience, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and supported nationally by AdFarm and Farm Management Canada.

Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2012 will be chosen at the National Event in Charlottetown, PEI, from November 28 – December 2, 2012.


For more information, or a photo of the winners, contact:
Joan Cranston, Program Manager, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ Program
(905) 648-0176  · cranstonclydes@yahoo.com  ·  www.oyfcanada.com

© Atlantic Outstanding Young Farmers Program (2008)
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