2009 OCIA Farmer of the Year
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Awards - Outstanding Farmer of the Year Award

Victor_ChrapkoSMThe Outstanding Organic Farmer of the Year is a yearly award honoring and recognizing talented producers who certify to the Organic Crop Improvement Association’s (OCIA) level of excellence. OCIA Research and Education (R&E) is proud to give tribute to Victor Chrapko and honor Elizabeth Chrapko as the Outstanding Organic Farmers of the Year.

The Chrapko’s farming practices excel in all aspects. Their farm integrates cropping with careful soil building and diversity. The Chrapko’s have been OCIA certified since 1999. Their orchard was the first organic orchard in Alberta and the most northerly grown commercial apple orchard. The fruit in the orchard is comprised primarily of cultivars of apples from the University of Saskatchewan Horticulture Outreach Co-operators’ program. To date, the Chrapko’s have about 1,200 apple trees with about 50 varieties, each with distinctive characteristics.

The Chrapko’s have planted approximately twelve varieties of sour cherries for the prairies. In 2006, they planted Haskap berries. They also keep bees to pollinate the fruit trees. Victor’s research-based information combined with sound practice and creativity has resulted in very “fruitful” relationships and outcomes. The Chrapko’s have a program to maintain and enhance the environment. Victor and Elizabeth have also been actively involved in the organic community.

Field crops include, “Zena” barley, Cascade oats, and milling wheat during transition year. “Peace” alfalfa is their variety of choice for organic hay. They plant cereal crops for three years before re-establishing alfalfa because of the toxic component of an adult alfalfa root system.

The Chrapko’s “En Sante Organic Orchard and Winery” located near Brosseau, Alberta Canada was started as an organic U-Pick business. In 2001, as the fruit started to become established, Victor began exploring legislation for wineries in Alberta. Victor found the laws requiring large quantities unfavorable to small producers. He worked with local policy makers for years to change the laws so small operations could operate as cottage wineries. Victor’s persistence paid off and in December of 2005, En Sante Winery became the first organic fruit winery in Alberta.

OCIA Research and Education’s Farmer of the Year award was presented during the Closing Banquet of OCIA’s Annual General Membership Meeting, which was held at the Holiday Inn Downtown in Lincoln, NE, on February 9th. Approximately 100 people were in attendance at this event.

Last Updated on Monday, 28 February 2011 13:32