Richard Stamp, Enchant
Enrolled in business, carpentry, computer and other courses in the 1980s
Richard Stamp is a first generation farmer, although farming ran – and still seems to run – in his family’s blood. His greatgrandparents homesteaded near Travers, Alta. at the turn of the century. But the droughts of the Dirty Thirties and the lack of irrigation meant his family couldn’t even grow a garden, so they moved off the farm.
Rick’s parents moved back to the area when he was 10. In 1978, he had an opportunity to buy land with a “Beginning Farmers” loan through AFSC, which is still available today to new farmers. He and his wife Marian established Stamp’s Select Seeds in 1980, in the heart of irrigation country at Enchant, Alta. Their farm business focuses entirely on “pedigreed seed” production consisting of a wide variety of cereals, beans, flax, and hybrid canola. The retail marketing, sales, seed treating and shipping of these crops are carried out year round.
From the start, the Stamps made farming a family endeavour. This fall the family will bring in the farm’s 35th harvest. Working closely with their immediate and extended family and seeing them all engaged in the agricultural industry brings him and Marian great satisfaction, says Stamp, who also attended classes at the college in the 1980s during the winter, studying everything from computer programming to carpentry to market futures and business management.
As a strong supporter of education for those in his industry, “Education is the future of agriculture,” he says. Marian adds that the 2+2 program that the Lethbridge College offers is a vital link in a well-rounded education system. Both agree that “the more we can encourage the next generations to expand their ‘horizons’ with continuous learning the better.”
The family sees an exciting future in agriculture – one that could involve family members for generations to come. They agree that the work itself is extremely fulfilling. “The most satisfying aspect of agriculture and construction is seeing the rewards of all your hard work,” says Matthew Stamp (Accounting 2009). “When a plan comes together and a person can physically see” the results of his or her labour and effort, “that is when it is the most satisfying.”
The Stamp Family, southern Alberta
Agricultural Technology and Accounting
All four of Rick and Marian Stamp’s children – Greg, Matthew, Nathan and Aimee – grew up working on the farm and went on to earn diplomas at Lethbridge College. Today, all four work in the agricultural industry – three of them with Stamp Seeds on the Enchant farm.
“I feel very fortunate and thankful to have the opportunity to be involved in the family seed business,” says Nathan Stamp (Agricultural Technology 2011), who met his wife Christine Meeks Stamp (Agricultural Technology 2012) at the college. “I find that everyone has a common invested interest in the farm. Everyone has had different experiences and education and brings his or her own skills and abilities to work together for the common good of the operation.”
His eldest brother, Greg Stamp (Agricultural Technology 2004), agrees. “The benefits of working in a family business are that everyone is committed to its success and is working to make sure great seed products are produced and customers are satisfied,” he says. “It’s always enjoyable to plan with, work with, and show up every day with family.”
Aimee Stamp (Agricultural Technology 2012) is the only sibling currently working outside of the family business. She now works for 20/20 Seed Labs Inc. in Lethbridge as a germination seed analyst and says this past year she has been involved in on-the-job training and preparing to write her germination exam, which she did last fall.