BARRHEAD – Jim and Jina Greilach and son Steven and daughter-in-law Victoria of 3G Farms Ltd. are the recipients of the Farmfair International 2021 Farm Family Award for the County of Barrhead handed out last Friday, Nov. 12, in Edmonton.
Jim and Jina live in the Mellowdale district on the original homestead of Jim’s grandfather Fredrich, who immigrated from Yugoslavia 95 years ago in 1926. Jina notes they still reside in the original farm home built by Jim’s grandfather in 1939.
Jim grew up on that farm, working alongside his father and older brother Doug. After graduating from high school in 1982, he stayed and worked on the farm, purchasing his first parcel of land in nearby Bloomsbury district in 1983. He met Jina in October 1986 when he stopped by for supplies at the Barrhead Vet Services Clinic where she was working. Two years and many dates later, they were married in 1988 in the nearby Christ Lutheran Church of Mellowdale and moved to the original Greilach homestead. They raised their family of three daughters and a son while continuing to work full time on the farm. The couple says as their children grew, they became very involved in helping on farm from running cattle, operating machinery or anything asked of them. Three are now married, and Jim and Jina are proud grandparents to nine grandchildren — four girls and five boys.
Today, the farm consists of 3,000 acres of grain, forage, and pasture, with a 300-cow beef herd and a 1,000 head feedlot. “The farm has always been a mixed farm with grain, oilseed and a beef cattle operation,” Jina notes.
Their son Steven returned to the farm full-time in 2012 after attending Olds College. He started a custom spraying business at that time. He married Victoria in 2014 and they are now busy raising their three young children.
As the farm continues to grow, Jim and Jina’s son-in-law Parker Schmidt came to work with the family full-time in 2017.
The farm’s beef operation has expanded to include direct marketing of 3G Branded Beef. The family actively participate in the Canadian RoundTable for Sustainable Beef Production, bringing awareness to the high quality of Alberta Beef.
3G Farms Ltd. has also participated in multi-year fertilizer plots for Alberta Agriculture as well as triticale grazing trials for cattle.
Over the years as well as farming, Jim and Jina continue to serve in their community participating in many different organizations, both in the past and present.
That includes church council of Christ Lutheran Church of Mellowdale, Neerlandia Co-op board of directors, VNM (Vega, Neerlandia Mellowdale) REA board, Freedom-Naples 4-H, Mellowdale Community Hall, Westlock Terminals board of directors, Barrhead Golf & Recreation Area Society board of directors, and NCES (Neerlandia Christian Education School board).
“We would like to thank the ag service board for nominating us (for the Farm Family Award),” the pair said. “We have always been very happy and proud to be part of the agriculture community. Our roots run deep and we are very blessed and thankful to God to be able to do the work we do.”
For more than 50 years, farm families from northern and central Alberta have been recognized as recipients of the Farm Family Award. Nominated by municipal agricultural service boards, these are families who best represent the values of the family farm within their rural community. The award honours both their farming business practices and community involvement.
The awards are presented at the Edmonton Expo Centre during Farmfair International Nov. 12. Last year, due to COVID-19, both were cancelled. This year, both the 2020 and 2021 awards were presented, with the 2020 awards presented around the noon hour and a banquet to follow, and a similar presentation later in the afternoon for the 2021 recipients.
Leah Jones, new director of Farmfair International who grew up in the Linaria area in Westlock County, welcomed the farm families.
“Being in the agriculture industry is a lot of hard work, and it’s an enormous responsibility, not only for your families but the work you do in your communities. And it’s an immense task, feeding the world with your food products each and every day,” she said
“It is such an important and meaningful job, and there’s no better way of life than being raised and living on the family farm. So today, it’s all about you, and recognizing that the west was built on agriculture and the family farm. You are why Alberta continues to be an agricultural leader, and a model for the agriculture industry. It is because of you that we can celebrate important agriculture events, such as Farmfair International. So, thank you for what you do.”