Sheldons win BMO Farm Family Award

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A family with farming roots dating back almost 90 years in the Kinuso area is being recognized by Big Lakes County.

Jim and Cheryl Sheldon are Big Lakes’ recipients of the 2020BMO Alberta Farm Family Award.

Northern and central Alberta agricultural service boards recognize the agricultural accomplishments and service in the community by different families.

The Sheldons were nominated by the Lesser Slave Lake Agricultural Society in Kinuso.

“It’s an honour to receive the award,” Jim Sheldon says.

His wife Cheryl adds the farm has come a long way.

“Our passion for farming started with Jim’s grandparents, and it’s in our bloodline to be connected to the land, animals, water, and the community,” Cheryl Sheldon says in a news release.

“We believe this is the best way to raise our family, and hopefully, our son [Brent] or grandchildren will carry on this legacy.”

The name of the Sheldons was added to the county’s Farm Family Wall of Fame.

In a brief ceremony Aug. 26, they received a special certificate presented by Reeve Richard Simard and Doug Meneice, chair of the Big Lakes County ASB.

“While reading through the nomination form for Jim and Cheryl Sheldon, you can see there is a strong commitment to continuous improvements and always looking positively forward,” Simard says.

“Agriculture has had a few tough years, but the Sheldon family shows the resilience and fortitude we are so fortunate to have in our agricultural community.”

Agriculture touches on every Big Lakes County resident’s life, he adds.

“In large part, because of our strong and dedicated farm families, we have a resilient and welcoming rural community to be proud of,” Simard says.

The Sheldons were also congratulated by a county agricultural committee.

“On behalf of Big Lakes County and Agricultural Advisory Committee, I would like to thank Jim and Cheryl for their contribution and support in their community,” says Meneice.

“This Farm Family Award is so well deserved, and we are fortunate to have such a dedicated family in our agricultural community.”

The farm has been operating in the Sheldon family for 89 years, the nomination states.

In 1931, Jim Sheldon’s grandparents, Fred and Lily Sheldon, and his uncle, George Sheldon, homesteaded with a mixed farming operation.

Jim and his siblings spent much of their time visiting his grandparents on the farm with a lot of memories of Grandpa singing a tune while working outside and Grandma working in the garden and cooking beef and steak pudding, chicken feet and prairie oysters.

Jim grew up on his father Stan Sheldon’s farm and rode horses at an early age, and has continued with him ever since.

When it comes to the Western life, he knows a thing or two about local rodeos. It was there when he heard the phrase, “It’s tough to be a cowboy” and still came out with winning first place in the wild horse race.

In his teen years, Jim helped his Uncle George working on his farm and had many adventures fishing and swimming on the farm.

Through the farm work and rodeos, he experienced and lived the cowboy spirit.

Jim and Cheryl took over the farm in 1972 and raised three children, Brent, Leigh-Anne and Collin.

In the years of increasing the cattle herd and making improvements on the land, Jim realized his dream to become successful in the management of the third generation “Sheldon” farm operation.

With the whole family working on the farm, pitching in with the daily chores has been a common routine for the entire family, including children and grandchildren.

The J & C Sheldon Ranch has been involved in the Lakeside 4-H Club in Kinuso, which has been passed down for two generations with both Jim and Cheryl and their three children.

Jim and Cheryl are active members as sponsors of the local Lakeside 4-H Club and usually buy 4-H beef.

Jim and Cheryl have been involved over the years with Lesser Slave Lake Agricultural Society as volunteers and involved in local rodeos.

Cheryl entered her sewing items in the Kinuso Agricultural Fair.

Jim entered his grains; and both placed first and second.

Cheryl was the editor for the Swan River First Nations history Book Sodbusters A History of Kinuso and Swan River Settlement in 1978-79.

Both have been involved in the Swan Valley Cemetery since 1986.

A total of 18 families are annually honoured with awards at a ceremony in Edmonton in November. It is unknown whether a public event will be held under health restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

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