A Chatham-Kent family with deep roots in farming has been named one of the BMO Farm Families of the Year.
The McKerrall Family was presented with the award at the 2022 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo (IPM) in Kemptville.
The BMO Ontario Farm Family Awards formally recognize farm families for their dedication to Ontario’s agriculture sector, and the rural way of life.
Maureen McKerrall says the honour was a surprise.
"This is truly a huge honour for us to receive this amongst the 12 other families that were also presented with this award," said McKerrall. "We feel very blessed to be able to farm and this was a way for us to be recognized for the things we do."
Both Maureen and her husband Rob come from longtime farm families in Chatham-Kent.
"Our farm has been around for 29 years, but the reality is that our parents and grandparents both farmed," said McKerrall. "So, it's through our ancestors that we have been given the opportunity to continue to farm."
The McKerrall family immigrated from Scotland in the mid-1800s, settling in Chatham Township while Maureen's grandparents immigrated from Belgium in 1927. Her grandfather worked as a farm labourer until he was able to save up enough money to buy his own land where he grew sugarbeets and tobacco.
The McKerrall's farm has changed over the years from a field crop and livestock operation to diversified cash crops and vegetables. They now grow sugarbeets, tomatoes, corn, beans, and wheat.
The family is also very involved in the local agricultural community with Rob serving as a director with the Ontario Sugarbeet Growers Association for 14 years. He has also been Chairman of that board since 2017.
The McKerrall family has also been involved with the Chatham-Kent Plowman's Association, the Chatham-Kent 4-H Association and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, receiving various 4-H awards.