The Sandum family was honoured as one of 18 families recognized by the Calgary Stampede and BMO at this year’s Farm Family Awards during the Calgary Stampede.
Families recognized this year were welcomed to the Stampede for the annual awards ceremony and buffet, which celebrates families in Southern Alberta for their contributions both to agriculture, as well as their respective local communities.
“It was very exciting. It was actually very humbling … and we are very honoured,” said Kim Sandum, who spoke on behalf of the family.
Relatives of the Sandum family immigrated to Canada from Norway and settled in Wheatland County in 1927.
The family farmed their original homestead in the county until migrating 10 miles away, where the farm has resided ever since, being handed down through their generations.
“Alvin’s (Sandum) parents and his uncle … when they all had kids, they split into two separate farms, and then that is what we still run today is Gordon Farms – that is Alvin’s dad’s name,” said Sandum.
The process for being recognized as a BMO Farm Family begins with a nomination from someone within the community, which is then presented before Wheatland County council to review.
A family is then asked to submit a history of their farm, as well as a presentation of their farming practices, and the family’s community involvement.
“Through the years, Alvin was the president of the Ag Society in Hussar, and he was a director for a number of years and coached hockey,” said Sandum. “I am on the Community Enhancement Regional Board (CERB) for the County of Wheatland and I have been on that board for the last 10 years; we are really involved with 4-H … we were leaders and we still volunteer for the 4-H club doing public speaking events and the show and sale.”
Sandum added she was also on the Wheatland Athletic Assocation hockey board for nine years, among other community initiatives.
The Sandum farm currently operates as a mixed green farm, curating wheat, barley, canola and peas, as well as maintaining over 300 head of cattle on a total of over 7,200 acres of land.
Alvin Sandum added a large part of what allows the family to succeed is help from relatives on their sister farm.
“Farming has changed so much since I started and compared to what it was back in the earlier years. My grandparents originally had 11 kids … and they split into two separate farms, but we all still help each other out to this day,” he said. “That is a huge part of the success of our farms is that we are sharing labour, whether it is for the harvest, seeding, branding; everybody is still willing to help each other out and share equipment.”
Kim and Alvin will eventually be succeeded on the farm by children of their own, who have expressed interest in remaining on the farm to carry on the family tradition.
By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Aug 02, 2023