MAYERTHORPE – Chittick Family Farms were honoured Nov. 11, 2022, with the Farm Family Award for Lac Ste Anne County.
Operating cattle operations under four individual farm names, raising purebred and fullblood Simmental, Angus and Hereford beef cattle, they all work together in the farming operations in the Mayerthorpe area. Four generations are involved in the farming operations, and are truly a farm family, and a family most worthy of the award.
The Chittick family history goes back more than a century, when Gary Chittick’s father, Jack, came to Canada at the age of 18 from his home in Ireland, and began to farm south of Mayerthorpe. It was Jack who started the family on the path of raising purebred cattle, with a herd of his own purebred Herefords.
In the booklet prepared for the BMO/Farmfair International Farm Family Awards giving a brief history of each of the families, it notes: “Four generations are involved in the farming operations. Owner/operators include Grant and Tanya Chittick (GRA-TAN Farm), Grant’s parents Gary and Faye (KIN-KIN Cattle Co.), brother Randy and sister-in-law Donna (Rachido Ranch), children Cyrstal and Steven Leighton, and Kelli (Shane) and their 10 grandchildren.” Grant and Tanya’s other son Raymond and wife Mona operate as Chittick Farms on their farm.
Chittick Family Farms is a cattle farm with 700-800 head of cattle under the four farm names, raising purebred Simmental, Angus and Hereford cattle. They hold an annual fall female sale, and Friday, March 3 will host their 12th-annual Chittick Family Bull Sale.
The writeup also notes the farm has updated processing facilities by adding new technologies. In addition to installing cameras in the barns and pens, and have incorporate the use of GPS on machines and equipment to minimize overlap and fuel costs.
The families practice good land stewardship, using crop rotation and have planted windbreaks to protect the soil from erosion. Grant and Tanya are involved in many community programs, including many years in 4-H. Grant is the Beef Leader for Anselmo Willing Workers 4-H Club, as well as being a part of the West Central Forage for many years. Grant and Tanya won the Purple Heart award from the Anselmo Willing Workers 4-H Club.
Their daughter Crystal is a former member of the Club and continues to work with it as well, and has also done many extension courses for the farm to keep it up to date on the latest technologies.
Crystal and her husband Steven Leighton work full time at the farm, along with their children, Brooke, Alea, and Colden. Her younger brother Jesse and wife Chelby have 20-plus cows with the GRA-TAN herd, but both work off the farm. Her younger sister Kelly and husband Shane Paradis also have a few head in the herd.
GRA-TAN Farm is the largest of the four, and calve out roughly 500 head each year, consisting of purebred and fullblood Simmental, Red and Black Angus and Hereford. They have one full-time hired man, Sheldon Klemp, who has worked with them for several years since age 17. He also has some cattle in the GRA-Tan herd.
Her grandparents, Gary and Faye Chittick who are in their early 80s, continue to calve out over 70 purebred Simmental cows yearly operating as KIN-KIN Cattle Co.
Her uncle and aunt, Randy and Donna Chittick, operate as Richido Ranch, and farm with their son Jason and his wife Carla and son Colin, calving 60-70 head of Simmentals. Her brother Raymond and Mona Chittick and their three children Autumn, Crimson and Cruz have Chittick Farms, raising about 150 head of Simmentals and Herefords.
Collectively, the four families calve out about 800 head annually. Mostly, the Chitick families use bull power for breeding, but also do some AI and embryo transplant.
The Chitticks grow their own grain for feed, keeping back some for seed for the following year when possible. Their winter feed supply is a mix a bales and hay and grain silage. Seeding, harvesting and forage work is done collectively, with all families involved. They all live and farm very close together in the Mayerthorpe and Anselmo area, farming around 15 quarters of land, not including rented pasture.