The Vavrek family of Vavy Valley Farms is the County of Grande Prairie’s 2022 Farm Family. The Award recognizes significant contributions to the agricultural community within the County of Grande Prairie, the region and the province.
“Our 2022 recipients are carrying on their lengthy farming heritage, evidenced by their deep commitment to agriculture, family and community,” said Sonja Raven, Agricultural Fieldman. “We are proud to celebrate them as this year’s Farm Family.”
The Vavrek family has been farming in the Sexsmith area since 1947, with the senior Michael Vavrek noted as one of the first farmers to grow canola in the County. Michael Vavrek Jr. and wife Melody took over the farm in 1993 and work together with their sons Brett and Daylan to make their farming operation a success.
When asked to what he would credit his farm’s success, Michael Vavrek’s immediate response was “family.”
“Working together has always been an attractive part of the farming operation,” added Vavrek. "My father was my role model, along with our close neighbours who helped us make good decisions in our lives that have led to a great career in farming by following their best practices and the legacy they have provided us. We are honoured to be acknowledged as the County’s 2022 Farm Family.”
Currently farming 3,200 acres of mixed grain, oilseed and cattle, the family prides themselves on their efficiency in completing spring and fall work, the order and cleanliness of their yard, and weed control in their fields, resulting in some of the best crop yields in their area. In 2012, the farm received the Elite Barley Grower of Alberta Award, along with County Fair ribbons for their grain and vegetables in past years.
Commitment to their community is also important to the family, most notably through the sport of curling. In addition to winning provincial and national curling championships, the family has operated the Sexsmith Curling Club since the mid-1990s. In 2020, the club won the provincial Curling Club of the Year Award, a first for the northern region. Together with Michael’s brother, the family has staged yearly fundraising bonspiels in support of the Organ Transplant Charity.
The Vavrek family are credited with initiating the Sexsmith Farmers Market in 2017 to utilize the curling rink during the summer months. A Farmers’ Market Board was formed in 2018 with Michael Vavrek serving as the Sexsmith Curling Club representative, while the whole family continues to promote, organize and volunteer to help keep the market operational.
The Vavrek Family will be officially acknowledged at a banquet at the Peace Country Classic Agri-Show on Friday, March 11, 2022. Tickets are available by contacting the Agriculture department at 780-532-9727. The Farm Family Award is a tradition in the County, dating back to 1969. More information about the Farm Family Awards Program can be found at www.countygp.ab.ca/farmfamily.