The winners and bursary recipients for the 15th Tournez-vous vers l'excellence! awards will be announced on November 24, 2020 at the Colloque Gestion, organized by the Centre de référence en agriculture et agroalimentaire du Québec (CRAAQ).
Details on the event's format will be announced shortly. Information will also be sent directly to all our participants.
Once again this year, you can learn more about the winners thanks to amazing videos that will be posted on this website and broadcast on our social networks as of November 24th.
Congratulations and good luck to all our finalists!
Bleuetière Marland (Fruit and vegetable grower, maple syrup production, agritourism)
Annie Marcoux had a clear vision when she joined the family blueberry farm in 2016: to create a major agritourism attraction for the region. Inspired by new trends and her travels, she wants to "make people live an authentic experience". She is revamping the company's brand image, modernizing its facilities, diversifying its food offer, and going green. Sales have tripled and the clientele is flocking in, whether to pick fruit and vegetables or to enjoy the majestic terrace, dairy bar, playground, or the farmhouse. She is at the head of the company's strategic planning and growth strategy. She is also active in online commerce and social networks, with the goal of offering an experience without boundaries.
Ferme La Croisée (Dairy)
Cynthia Coulombe has guts. At age 23, she bought an uncle's shares in the dairy farm, with just her studies as a background. She immediately took over managing the herd and production, the fields, and crops, as well as the overall management of the business. "I had to learn several skills at once but discovered that I was stronger and more solid than I thought I would be." She is modernizing the facilities and improving her cattle's welfare, their production, and the herd's genetic potential. The herd's average production has increased by 2,000 kilograms per cow over the past six years and her calving interval is under 380 days. Above all, the quality of her milk has improved, with recognitions to confirm it. Now a mother, Cynthia is proud of the progress she has made, and she is living her childhood dream.
Porc Extra (Porcine)
Kim Loranger's farm business is one of the most successful in Quebec. At the age of 25, she acquired 100% of the family hog business. Kim Loranger, whose mission is to manage a successful and profitable farm, believes that "entrepreneurship is a creative process". She knew she was going to face challenges, but her training as an agronomist was her cornerstone. To care for her 500 sows is a passion she has had since childhood. Since becoming a business owner, she has achieved above-average technical performance. Moreover, she meticulously carries out the inseminations herself. The health and genetics of her animals, as well as their fertility and birth rate, are enviable.
Paysage gourmand (Edible perennials)
Guillaume Pelland will undeniably position himself as a leader in the field of horticultural production, landscape design and the creation of utilitarian and aesthetic spaces. His company produces over 450 edible perennials of all flavours, an incomparable diversity. In recent years, he has established his credibility in horticulture through conferences, publications in specialized magazines and participation in major events such as ExpoHabitation at the Olympic Stadium. His sales, revenues and profits exceed expectations. His nursery, a veritable plant laboratory, attracts a growing number of visitors. In the short term, he hopes to play a leadership role in food self-sufficiency.
Notre petite ferme (Organic vegetable farmer)
For James Thompson, there are no competitors; there are only partners. "We believe in the strength of being united and working together to stimulate local farming." His farm grows over 35 varieties of vegetables sold in 350 organic baskets every week. His sales are increasing by 15% annually. Even though business is going well, what he is really striving for is to "to commit to the advancement of agriculture and contribute to healthy eating and a healthy planet." Thompson, who had no agricultural background, is also dedicated to providing a caring work environment. He acts as a mentor to employees aspiring to establish themselves in the farming community and to start-up farms. He gives back to food banks and community gardens and offers his community free gardening and culinary workshops.
Ferme avicole Paul Richard et fils inc. (Table eggs)
Jean-Philippe Richard oversees a farm of 72,000 hens, which lay an average of 330 eggs each per year. The business employs a staff of about 30 people, some of whom have been with the company for 30 years. The family farm was one of the first in the country to be equipped with enriched system hen houses. This represented major investments, but was a beneficial decision for the hens' well-being, a priority for Jean-Philippe Richard. With a background in industrial electricity, he designed the plans for his hen houses, including their automation system. The grading station, unique in the region, classifies eggs from all the producers in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. He wants to constantly push optimization and automation to their highest levels, which makes him the first to try out new technologies and then share his experience. "I like to share our knowledge, our techniques and our ways of doing things with other farmers. That way, they can do the same and maybe even do better than us!"
Le Petit Mas (Organic garlic and garlic flower processing)
With over 16 hectares under cultivation, the processing of more than 20 tons of garlic flowers and sales of over $1 million, Sébastien Grandmont is a leader in the Quebec garlic production. He uses a processing method that is unique both in Quebec and worldwide. Since purchasing the farm, his garlic production has increased from 5,760 kg to 37,560 kg. His revenues have increased seven-fold and working capital has doubled, despite investments made without recourse to financing. His garlic flowers are sold in over 500 points of sale throughout Quebec and exported as far away as Europe. His reputation has also grown through his participation in events such as the Fête des vendanges Magog-Orford. The business employs a dozen people year-round and offers about 50 seasonal jobs.
La Miellerie King (Apiculture and processed honey products)
Kingsey Falls, Centre-du-Québec
What was once a hobby has become a successful business. René Bougie bought his first beehive, and the project took off in a flash. From the moment it was launched, his revenues have steadily increased. The business now processes honey in all its forms, such as sauces, caramel, mead, mead cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages, mistelle, liquors and spirits. His products are distributed in over 350 points of sale throughout Quebec. Although he does not come from an agricultural background, he has managed to find the training and supervision needed to succeed in this tour de force. He now aspires to be a leader in his industry. "I'm driven by the desire to surpass myself, to reinvent myself and to explore places still unknown in the world of honey. The only limit is our imagination."
Ferme Roumer (Organic milk and organic field crops)
Louis Demers-Rousseau wanted to rent part of the family land to produce organic garlic. Instead, the departure of a shareholder gave him the opportunity to take over the entire dairy farm. According to last year's Herd Performance Index (HPI), he ranked 7th out of 134 organic herds in Canada. He has embarked on a major expansion project, including the construction of new buildings to increase the comfort of his cows. He is proud of the growth of his business, which he describes as efficient, versatile, and diversified. He aims to be as self-sufficient as possible in feeding his cows and to make investments that generate wealth. A scientist by training, he works to continuously improve his practices while minimizing his environmental impact as much as possible, which allows him to obtain better crop yields in his fields. "I aspire to nothing less than making organic agriculture as efficient as conventional agriculture."
Ferme Wendover Dairy and field crops)
Jean-François Janelle returned to the farm a few years ago to maintain a dynamic and active dairy business. His directive is clear: analyze every aspect of the business to find opportunity for economic and productivity gains. His growth strategy is based among other things on the continuous purchase of quotas and the expansion of the herd. The construction of a new barn allowed him to improve animal welfare. Performance is increasing, sometimes reaching a peak of 1.75 kg of butterfat per cow per day. Last year, during the municipality's 150th anniversary, the farm was recognized for its contribution to the community. It also starred in the launch of the Quebec Dairy Farmers's "Télaitroman" advertisements. An occasional ambassador, Jean-François is keen to promote the farming profession. "I want to promote agriculture in a positive way; getting involved with my peers motivates me."
This contest is open to young agricultural entrepreneurs who, thanks to their professional skills and managerial qualities, stand out for the excellence of their profile.
Five grants will be awarded, totalling $13,000:
By holding this contest, La Financière Agricole du Québec shows the importance that it attaches, as well as CRAAQ, to training and a set of individual qualities and talents paving the way for a sound farming profession.