Farmers, Ed Rempel from Starbuck and Brian Chorney from Selkirk, live and farm just south and north of Winnipeg, respectively.
They both have a strong passion for farming and are strong leaders in the canola industry. They are both Manitoba Canola Growers board members, Ed is the current president and Brian is the vice president. Get to know their passion for farming and personal interests through 5 Questions we asked them.
Ed Rempel, Farmer & MB Canola Growers President
Ed Rempel has been farming since 1981 and has worked hard to build up his farm in Starbuck. He is the first to admit that farming is a cold and hard business –“but it wasn’t always that way” he quickly adds. As he ponders his farming career, he recalls many treasured moments that ending up making a huge difference in his career.
Question 1: What characteristics are important as a leader in agriculture?
There are two: a willingness to learn and the willingness to serve. There is no question, that if you have the willingness to serve for any agriculture organization, you have the opportunity to grow personally; that’s the exciting part. You’re exposed to a lot of very talented people in your industry and to different thought processes.
Question 2: Who do you look to for leadership guidance?
(He laughs as he immediately eliminates politicians from the list.)
I am fortunate to have a good network of neighbours and friends in our community who act as a sounding board. Their responses are always thoughtful and at a high level.
Question 3: Who have been your partners in your success?
As I think about my career in agriculture, I have to say that my best partners have been women: my wife, my mother and my mother-in-law. If it wasn’t for their significant contributions to the farming operation, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
If it wasn’t for the prairie women there would be no prairie agriculture. That is a fact.
Question 4: What are some fond moments of your career?
Two occasions come to mind. The first was the day I woke up and said to myself “I’m going to make it in this business”. That was back in 2008 after a particularly rough string of losses.
The second was winning my first MCGA election. That changed me as a person significantly.
These are small moments but to large extent, very significant for me.
Question 5: What are you passionate about?
That’s easy –I have two great hobbies. I love action adventure movies. Two of my favourite movies are Star Wars and Dr. Strangelove.
My other passion is all forms of motor racing, in particular I am hooked on drag racing. It is spectacular to watch and thrilling to take part in. I own a racecar that I race at the old airstrip in Gimli.
The farmers are proud to support a Jet Funny Car that runs on 100% canola based biodiesel. You can learn all about it in “It’s a bird, it’s a plane….it’s a Jet Funny Car!”.
Brian Chorney, Farmer & MB Canola Growers Vice-President
Brian Chorney is as passionate as farmers come. His love for agriculture shines through in all aspects of his life. He dedicates a lot of his time not only to his own farming operation but also to agricultural organizations such as Agriculture in the Classroom, and has served as a representative various agricultural boards.
Question 1: Why do you farm?
Simply because I like it. Our farm is located in Selkirk and it is 2300 acres. It was established in 1918 by my grandfather, John Chorney. We call it John Chorney Farms in honour of my grandfather and father and continue to operate it as a family farm.
Question 2: Is there a special memory in your farm career that stands out to you?
I participated in the Canola Japanese Consultation in which I got to travel to Japan. It was a very eye-opening experience and I had the opportunity to go twice.
Question 3: How did you first become involved with the Manitoba Canola Growers?
It was 2004 and the MCGA board elections were coming up. A couple of growers asked me if I would let my name stand in the election. I thought about it and decided yes I’d run for director. I won one of the seats in that election and have been involved ever since.
Question 4: How do you mentor the future generation of canola farmers?
I try to lead by example. I play a leadership role where needed and participate with Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC). Most recently, my participation with AITC has consisted of speaking to a group of high school Social Studies teachers; and I along with a group of farmers planted and grew a crop for a grade 4 classroom in Selkirk as part of AITC’s Crops in the Class program where they follow and learn about the crop as it grows throughout the season.
Question 5: How do you practice sustainability on your farm?
I practice well-researched cropping procedures, and use registered sustainable crop protection products. We rotate our crops too (farmers rotate the crops so that the plants don’t use up all of the nutrients from the soil), and I also grow export ready varieties and use sustainable storage procedures.
Watch this video of farmer Brian Chorney talking about the sustainability practices on this farm.