Influential Women in Canadian Agriculture

W.R. Motherwell leadership award given to Manitoba rancher

Angela (Angie) Fox, rancher and Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF)


December 17, 2019
By Stephanie Gordon

Angela (Angie) Fox, rancher and Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) alumni from Manitoba, was recently honoured as recipient of the 2019 W.R. Motherwell Award by Canada’s OYF program. The award was presented to Angela at the national event in Fredericton last week.

Manitoba alumni members nominated Fox because of her selfless dedication to her family and community. “Along with running her four children to extra-curricular events and managing the ranch as a sole proprietor Angela works one day a week for a local auction barn, more to help them out than for the paycheck,” shared Dustin Williams, regional chair of OYF Manitoba.

As 2008 Manitoba alumni, Angela and her late husband Jay brought many ideas to the Manitoba program that improved the local program. In 2011 she became the regional administrator and continues to work tirelessly to make the regional and national events (2011 and 2018) a success.

Angela and her husband Jay personified the concept of power couples while running Steadfast Ranch. Jay was the larger than life persona and Angela was the heart and soul of the partnership. Sadly Jay was taken from Angela in 2011. Through her grief, Angie not only maintained a great life for her four children, but also continued to successfully manage their 11,000-acre cow calf ranch. There were many that questioned if Angie would sell the ranch and/or move away but that was not even a consideration for her. She continues to complete and work towards the plans and goals that she and Jay had made.

Angie was introduced to Maggie Van Camp by Jim Snyder of BDO. Maggie, like Angie, had lost her husband and was challenged with successfully continuing the family farm operation. With the help of BDO, Angie and Maggie inspired other farmers at speaking engagements across Canada to prepare and complete a “Because I Love You List” because we never know how our lives might change tomorrow. Angie and Maggie shared many experiences and stories over their touring and speaking engagements.

Luanne Lynn, past president of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers (COYF), and Tara Sawyer, a member of the COYF board, presented the award and included these comments: “We have never seen a more selfless, hardworking, strong and compassionate person. Her compassion extends even to her cows!”

Dr. Motherwell, the namesake of the W.R. Motherwell Award, was born near Perth, Ont. in 1860. His leadership in Canadian agriculture spanned more than 50 years and he is regarded by many as the “grand old man of Canadian agriculture.” His career highlights include minister of agriculture in Saskatchewan’s first provincial government, and minister of agriculture for Canada in the 1920s. Having attended agricultural college in Guelph, Ont., his move to Saskatchewan resulted in his instrumental role in establishing the agriculture facility at the University of Saskatchewan. Motherwell died in 1943 at the age of 83.

On the 25th anniversary of the OYF program, the W.R. Motherwell Award was established. The award is presented annually, on behalf of OYF alumni across Canada, to an individual or couple who has demonstrated excellence in leadership and dedication to both the OYF program and Canadian agriculture.

More information about the OYF W.R. Motherwell Award is available online. The deadline for nominations for the 2019 award is March 31, 2019.

Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year.