Family's ranching roots celebrated
Foothills: Wambeke family honoured as Farm Family Award recipients
By: Roxanne Blackwell
| Posted: Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 10:38 am
More than 1 million visitors enjoyed the Calgary Stampede last week from all over the world, but for many of Alberta’s city slickers it was a chance to learn a bit about Alberta’s agriculture industry and the people who put food on their table.
Twenty families from southern Alberta were awarded the 2014 BMO Farm Family award on July 7 for their lifelong contributions to the agriculture industry and their involvement Alberta’s communities. Richard and Doreen Wambeke and the Diamond V Ranch were selected as this year’s winners in the MD of Foothills and received a plaque and tickets to enjoy the rodeo.
Doreen said they’re happy with the work that the Stampede does to educate people about food production so they can better understand why the agricultural sector is vital in Alberta.
“They're honouring the food basket and people who produce the food, and they want to bring that harmony into the Stampede and start to educate the urban masses about where their steak really does come from and why milk is chocolate– it doesn't come out of a chocolate cow type of thing,” Doreen said. “I think they will eventually go through all of the heritage and legacy families in the southern part of the province and eventually everyone will be recognized.”
The Wambeke family came from the United States over 100 years ago, and Richard’s two brothers have also continued on in agriculture industry. Richard has lived on the Longview area ranch his entire life where they mostly have a beef operation with cow-calf grazing and silage and hay production. Richard said farming and ranching was in his blood and he never thought about doing anything else.
“I pretty much took up tunnel vision about agriculture, it's made a living for us and we've been able to survive on the landscape and that was the humbling thing when they asked if we would accept the nomination for the award,” he said. “We're just ordinary people doing what we can on the landscape, so it was honour being picked for that.”
Doreen also grew up in a rural setting just west of Nanton, and they plan to continue their agricultural lifestyle. Their daughter lives in Okotoks while their son manages their feed yard. Richard said it’s a way of life that can some times be challenging, but he enjoys the unpredictability of agriculture.
“I think most aggies would say they like the variables, there's usually not a set pattern when you get up in the morning.” He said. “With nature and animals there's a lot of variables that get thrown at you so you juggle the balls and keep them all in the air the best you can but you never know. You might have a game plan but it might change drastically just because the weather changed – variety is the spice of life.”