Gaschnitz family creates memorial award

Grant Gaschnitz, right, received a life membership from the Peace Country Beef and Forage Association in 2019 at its annual general meeting in February. Standing at left is manager Liisa Jeffrey.

Marquardt first winner

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A family in the High Prairie area has created and presented a new award in memory of a former longtime farmer.

The first Grant Gaschnitz Memorial Ag Knowledge Sponsorship was awarded Feb. 22 by the Peace Country Beef and Forage Association at the annual general meeting.

“He was a big supporter of that,” says Audrey Gaschnitz, his wife.

She presented the $500 sponsorship to Dyannna Marquardt, of Enilda.

The Gaschnitz family created the sponsorship in memory of Grant Gaschnitz, who passed away suddenly April 9, 2019 at 75 years of age.

He was a former chair of the PCBFA and received a life membership in February 2019 at the annual general meeting.

Since 1980, he farmed in the Gilwood area southwest of High Prairie and was active in various agricultural organizations.

“Grant was always encouraging young farmers to go to conferences and to be involved,” Audrey Gaschnitz says.

“Once old famers die, it needs to continue.”

It inspired his daughter, Lorna Pardell, and the family to support young producers with funding.

“Lorna knew we had to do something to continue Grant’s legacy”, Gaschnitz says.

“Thanks to Lorna we sat down with the forage association and put something together. That’s how it started.”

PCBFA interim manager Chelsey Hostettler thanked the family for their commitment to agriculture as she described the award before it was presented.

“We are honoured to work with the Gaschnitz family to make this fund a reality,” Hostettler says.

“It’s always been a love story between PCBFA and Grant.

“We feel that administering Grant’s fund totally fits our mandate.

“It’s awesome to see the Gaschnitz family pursue the legacy.”

Gaschnitz, Pardell, PCBFA chair Jordan Barnfield, of Teepee Creek, treasurer Kelvin Krahn, of High Prairie, and administrative assistant Marianne Krahn served on the selection committee that received six applications.

“We gave the priority to applicants who are active producers versus those who are students,” Hostettler says.

She explains how Marquardt was chosen.

“Dyanna stood out because we could sense that she has a clear vision of what she wants to achieve and how it will benefit not just her operation but the whole Peace Country in general,” Hostettler says.

Marquardt has been accepted to take a beef artificial insemination course at Lakeland College.

She is a young rancher on a farm with over 100 Angus Hereford cross cattle. She has a passion for learning efficiencies in her cattle herd.

With a recent addition of 30 bred heifers, her interest is piqued on breeding a registered black Hereford, where her ranch can eventually sell their own heifers and bulls.

“The last three years, we have been doing some research and viewing a lot of black baldy cows and bulls but none have really stood out to us as superior to any other,” Marquardt says in her application.

“This led us to the conclusion that if you can’t find what you like, then why not make it yourself. That is where the sponsorship funding will help.

“This is where the AI course would come in; we want to produce registered black Herefords, eventually selling our own heifers and bulls,” Marquardt says.

“The choices are very limited in Canada for this breed and we feel that we could assist in the development of the breed.”

Marquardt wants to be on the forefront of marketing these efficient cattle.

The first recipient of the Grant Gaschnitz Memorial Ag Knowledge Sponsorship was presented by the Gaschnitz family and the Peace Country Beef and Forage Association on Feb. 22. Dyanna Marquardt, right, of Enilda, receives the sponsorship from Audrey Gaschnitz, wife of the late Grant Gaschnitz at the PCBFA annual general meeting in Fairview.

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