Rocky View County honours longtime Springbank family
A longtime Springbank family has been named Rocky View County’s 2012 Master Farm Family.
Area Councillor Kim Magnuson presented the Longeway family with the award at the Springbank Heritage Club during the County’s AgVenture Tour, July 26.
“It’s great to receive this, it is something we will always be proud of,” said Eric Longeway, the family’s 86-year-old patriarch. “We didn’t expect it, but it’s very nice to get it.”
This year marks 100 years that the Longeway family has farmed in Springbank. The farm was established by Howard Longeway after he purchased land near the original homestead in 1910. After Howard passed away, Eric and his brother, Gerald ran the farm with their mother, Alice.
Eric and his wife, Betty took over the farm in 1953. Their children, Howard, Debbie, Jim and Ken, helped run the operation, which was mainly a dairy farm with purebred Jerseys. Dairy remained the farm’s main source of income until 1994.
Today, the farm consists of commercial beef cattle and a small flock of sheep. The farm also houses a variety of other animals such as quarter horses, miniature horses, goats, chickens, ducks and the occasional pig. Last year, the family produced more than 30,000 small square bales of hay. It was Eric’s 78th consecutive year of putting up hay.
Nowadays, Eric oversees the farm operation with the assistance of his daughter, Debbie and his granddaughter, Danielle.
Eric’s son, Howard has been an integral part of the farming operation since graduating from the University of Alberta in 1972.
The family also has a long history with the Calgary Stampede. Howard started his career by showing sheep and poultry at the Stampede. Eric was only 13 when he started showing his Jersey cattle. This year, Eric celebrated his 75th year of taking part in the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
Eric first volunteered for the Stampede’s Dairy Cattle committee in 1954 and is now an Honourary Life Member of the Stampede.
The family is well known for its excellence in breeding. Throughout the years, the Longeways’ Jersey cattle have won many Grand Champion banners and Premier Breeder and Exhibitor titles.
The family has also been a strong promoter of agriculture, taking part in agricultural demonstrations around the province at a number of events, including the Stampede’s Aggie Days, the Medicine Hat Stampede, the Leduc Dairy Congress and the Springbank Park for All Seasons Fall Fair.
Eric has also been involved in the provincial and national Jersey Cattle Associations and was instrumental in creating the Calgary Milk Foundation. He has also served on many local committees including Rocky View County’s Agricultural Services board and the Springbank Park for all Seasons Agricultural Society. He was a founding member of the Springbank Heritage Club.
Eric was awarded the Dairy Award of Distinction by the Alberta Dairy Industry and has judged a number of events at the Stampede. In 2009, he received the Minister’s Seniors Service Award.
Debbie became the first woman to join the Diary Cattle Committee in 1986. She later became its first female chairperson.
Debbie’s other accolades for her work in the industry include the Lifetime Achievement Award from Alberta Milk, the Tom Barichello Award from Jersey Canada and the Award of Distinction from Alberta Farm Care.
Danielle is the fourth generation to take part in and volunteer for the Stampede. She joined the Ag-Tivity in the City committee in 2003 and now chairs the group, which organizes agriculture-related attractions during the Stampede.
Howard is a longtime member of the Stampede City Progress Club, which supports local charities such as the Boys and Girls Club.
Rocky View County’s Master Family Award has been presented every year since 1989 and recognizes families who show excellence in the areas of community involvement, team farm management, technical farm practices, technical farm practices and industry involvement.
“We are very pleased to be giving this year’s award to the Longeway family,” said Magnuson, who chairs the County’s Agricultural Services Board.
“They demonstrate outstanding volunteerism and leadership in the agricultural industry, and they share knowledge with others by taking part in numerous agricultural education programs.”