The Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies (AAAS) hosted its annual convention in Edmonton on January 30-February 2, 2020.
During the awards banquet on Friday night, Rebecca Joseph, Region 4 director with AAAS, and Lamont & District Agricultural Society secretary was called to the stage to present the Outstanding Supporter of Agriculture award.
"This has been a very hard secret to keep!" stated Joseph, who has been keeping this award a secret from the recipient for a number of weeks. "It is someone I work closely with in my community, and I have had to keep my lips tight for a few meetings!"
Terry Eleniak, President of Lamont & District Agricultural Society was the recipient of the award that was founded by the AAAS Board of Directors in 1994 to recognize an individual who has made outstanding contribution to the agriculture industry as a whole.
"Not only is agriculture a source of livelihood for Terry, but also a passion, always working to ensure agriculture education and the industry's heritage is not forgotten. " stated Joseph as she announced the award winner during the banquet of approximately 600 attendees.
Growing up on a farm near Chipman, AB, Terry grew up with a love of agriculture leading him to be the first Student Managed Farm manager at Lakeland College while completing his Crop Technology diploma. For the past 30 years, Terry has been employed by Lamont County as their Agricultural Fieldman, advocating for agricultural practices and youth programming to ensure the industry gets the attention it deserves, both at a local and provincial level.
When he’s not at work, Terry spends his spare time working at his 1,600 acre mixed farming operation or volunteering for the Lamont & District Agricultural Society as their President. Terry has been instrumental in helping establish our new rodeo grounds after our relocation south of town. Not only does he advocate for producers and protecting production practices, but he is also a strong supporter of youth programs that teach both farm safety and leadership skills, including 4-H. He has passed on his passion for agriculture to his children, leading them to both volunteering as well careers in the industry; his son Colby is an ag mechanic and his daughter Kelsey is currently taking her Animal Science diploma. All 3 of his children have been awarded a scholarship through AAAS at Convention. This showcases Terry's dedication and influence for a strong agriculture industry.
The AAAS Board felt Terry was deserving of this award due to his support and professionalism of the Ag Societies program and the ag industry as a whole. He was recognized for his professionalism and continuous support during the AAAS MLA forums for numerous years as well as his involvement in the Grazing School for Women, Livestock Emergency Trailer program and FarmTech.
"This was a shock. Thank you to the AAAS board for their recognition. We are only as strong as our communities." Eleniak commented after being called on stage.