A century farm was recognized by the provincial government.

On Friday (Oct.29), Orvis Schneider was presented the Alberta Century Farm and Ranch Award on behalf of the province. The award recognizes farm families who have continuously owned and operated the same land for at least 125 years.
 
Schneider’s family first settled in Alberta from Germany in 1896 and began farming in northern Strathcona County, near Bruderheim. The family was attracted to the area because of the presence of other German settlers who had already set up homesteads in the region.
 
In addition to his farming abilities, Schneider’s grandfather, Johan, was also a medical practitioner, having received his training in Heidelberg, Germany. He continued practicing medicine when he came to Canada and was often called upon to treat anyone within a 50-mile radius.
 
His father, Adolph, kept a small herd of 18 purebred Holstein cows and sold his milk to the Northern Alberta Dairy Pool cheese factory in Bruderheim. When the Bruderheim factory closed, Adolph chose not to undertake the expense, time and trouble to ship his milk into Edmonton and instead opted to sell his herd and grow grain.
 
When Orvis took over the family farm in the early 1970s, he got back into ranching and raised Hereford cows. His dedication to raising only purebred stock and looking for quality over quantity paid off. Over time, he built up a small herd of purebred Hereford cows that would go on to win many accolades in Canada and around the world.
 
When reflecting on his career, many high points stand out for Orvis -- getting into the show circuit and showing his cows was a huge moment, notably a show in Denver in which Schneider won grand champion for one of his bulls.
 
“I’m pretty proud of that, having the best livestock in the world,” he said.
 
Over the years, some challenges included navigating various droughts and underscoring the benefits of having good insurance. He pointed to one year where he didn’t carry insurance, and a large hailstorm hit as a particularly hard year.
 
“You know, there are not all roses in working the land. But, the most rewarding thing is when you take on guys that have, say, 1000-1500 head of cattle and you whip their [butts] you know, it’s a good feeling. That’s what I enjoyed the most.”
 
Orvis, now largely retired, lives in Fort Saskatchewan and has help from his neighbour to farm, joking that he does a lot more watching than working these days. His two sons live in Calgary and have their own careers, one is a pastor and the other owns an accounting firm.
 
Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk presented the award on behalf of the province and said that it’s great to see a farm kept in the family for so many years.