6th generation P.E.I. farmer wins Atlantic award, now in running for national title

·3 min read
Morgan Smallman holds the Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers Program award for the Atlantic Region. (Mikee Mutuc/CBC News - image credit)
Morgan Smallman holds the Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers Program award for the Atlantic Region. (Mikee Mutuc/CBC News - image credit)

Morgan Smallman is very family-oriented.

A 6th generation P.E.I. potato farmer, he credits a lot of the farm's success to the generations before him.

That's why when he and his wife Karissa won Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers Program award for the Atlantic region, he called it a "team effort."

"I'm the first generation to be … nominated in this competition," he said.

"My father, obviously, he's been here longer than I have, he brought the farm to where it's at today."

The family runs J and J Farms Ltd. in Knutsford.

Morgan and Karissa were nominated for the award earlier this summer and just found out they won last week.

"It's not just me that got the award, it's our team," said Morgan.

Mikee Mutuc/CBC News
Mikee Mutuc/CBC News

Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers Program is an annual competition that recognizes farmers for their dedication and contribution to agriculture.

The award is open to farmers between the ages of 18-39 years, who make the vast majority of their income from farming operations.

The program is divided into seven regions in Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. Morgan and Karissa won for the Atlantic region, and are now in the running for the national award in November.

All about family 

J and J Farms Ltd. started its operations in the 1800s as a small, mixed farm with pigs and potatoes.

Over the years, the market for pigs slowed down, and the farm focused solely on potatoes. Morgan said the farm now crops 300 to 400 acres of potatoes used to make potato chips.

For the last eight to 10 years, he's been working on the farm with his father Jeff, and uncle Jason.

Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers Program/Twitter
Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers Program/Twitter

"We make sure that the decisions are made based on everybody, not just one person calling the shots," Morgan said. "We value everybody's input and it seems to work for us. It's got us where we are today."

Morgan and Karissa also have four young children who like to play on the farm.

"The kids, Cameron, he likes to pick rocks and sort potatoes, and same with Madeline," he said. "Cody's a little young, but he's starting to be around. He likes tractor drives, and the same with Kylee, she's going to get her time in the tractor."

Mikee Mutuc/CBC News
Mikee Mutuc/CBC News

Karissa helps with the farm's administrative paperwork, and she and Morgan's mother also deliver snacks and coffee to the farmers. Morgan said it "gets them through the day."

"To be able to make sure the family's taken care of is a big part of the farm as well," he said.

Heading to nationals

As regional award winners of the program, Morgan and Karissa were nominated for the national recognition event, which will take place in Saskatchewan in November.

Morgan said they feel like they've already won because of the Atlantic award and the support they've received from the farmers program community.

"There's some pretty big shoes to fill there," he said. "It'd be nice to win the title, but as far as winning, I think we've already won … [Karissa] and I are just very humbled and excited about what's to come."

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