A busy Monday morning at the Calgary Stampede with the Farm Family Awards being handed out.

One of the awards went to the Groves Family Farm of Dale and Diane Groves in Vulcan County.

Dale Groves says he's been farming for a long time, and is happy it's the life he chose.

"It was a dream of mine growing up and I'm still living it, so I really enjoy it. I probably started helping dad out when I was 13 or 14 years old."

Groves say the process of farming has changed since he started as the machine's have become bigger and the methods more sophisticated.

He says there's also more at stake each year they plant a crop, which had him musing about never having to go to Las Vegas to gamble as he does it every time he seeds his fields.

Other local award winners were Harold, Rick and Doug Hansen along with their families from the M.D. of Foothills.

Ernest and Joyce Walker and Walker's Farm out of Wheatland County and Roy and Karen Hall and the Hall Farm from the M.D. of Willow Creek.

In a release the Stampede talked about the importance of the BMO Farm Family Awards as a way of promoting a renewed urban/rural relationship.

"The BMO Farm Family Awards play an integral role in highlighting the many innovations and skilled business and environmental practices of Alberta farmers and ranchers," says Susan Brown, senior vice president, Alberta and Northwest Territories division, BMO Bank of Montreal. “These families are outstanding examples of dedication, combining the traditions of the past with modern agri-business practices, to continue to support Alberta’s economy.”

The Alberta minister of agriculture, Oneil Carlier, attended alongside Bill Gray, president and chairman of the board, Calgary Stampede, and Brown to congratulate the winners of the 2015 BMO Farm Family Awards.

“Alberta farmers and ranchers are the backbone of our thriving agriculture sector and rural communities,” says Carlier. “These awards are a great way to recognize their incredible commitment to family, community and agriculture in our province.”

Each year, the municipal districts in southern Alberta nominate one family.

Selected families, who best display the qualities of a Farm Family, are brought to the Stampede for the BMO Farm Family Awards, which includes a reception, greetings from Alberta's Minister of Agriculture, brunch, awards presentation, and family photograph session.

The winning families are then treated to the afternoon Stampede Rodeo.

“The BMO Farm Family Awards are integral to the Stampede, our community, the province and the world,” says Gray. “They reflect the importance of sustainable agriculture and help increase the knowledge of sustainability in agriculture by bridging the gap between urban and rural communities.”

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