Lainton family wins Farm Family Award
By David Willberg
A Bienfait-area couple has been recognized for their commitment to farming, family and many different causes and councils in their region.
Stan and Paula Lainton, and their family members, were presented with the Farm Family of the Year Award during Estevan's Farmer Appreciation Evening on February 28. The Laintons, who farm northeast of Bienfait, presently have just under 3,000 acres of wheat, canola, oats, barley, peas and flax; and they have a herd of about 80 semintal and red angus cross cows.
Farming has always been a way of life for Stan Lainton. He grew up on his parents' farm northeast of Bienfait – the same farm where Stan and Paula reside today – and after graduating from high school, worked on the farm, while dabbling in coal mining.
Eventually, he met Paula, who was a school teacher in Bienfait. They were married in 1977. They purchased two quarters of land from Stan's parents and started building a heard of semintal cattle.
Then they purchased a quarter-section of land a few kilometres south of his parents' farm, and prepared it to accommodate a house.
“Over the next several years, they acquired more land, built up their beef herd, added a few head of holsteins, and even purchased a small creamer,” said Estevan Chamber of Commerce community development manager Michel Cyrenne, who read the Lainton's biography before the Farm Family Award was presented.
Paula retired from teaching in 1981 to become a stay-at-home mother. Stan would continue to split his time between the farm and the mines until 1986, when he opted to focus on farming full-time.
Stan's father passed away in 1990, and Stan and Paula took over the remaining land, adding to their farming commitments. Later on, they sold their creamer and holsteins, and that has allowed them to focus on the grain and beef cattle elements of their operation.
In the community, Paula has been involved with the Bienfait Brownies and Girl Guides, St. Monica's Parish, the Lampman Community Theatre, the Bienfait Lions Community Theatre and the Estevan Wildlife Federation.
Stan has dedicated time to St. Monica's, the Coalfields' PFRA community pasture advisory board, the boards for St. Joseph's Hospital and the hospital's foundation, the South East Health Committee, the Agriculture Producers Association of Saskatchewan, the Agriculture Health and Safety Network of Saskatchewan, the Southeast RM Association and the Bienfait Curling Club.
He has also spent two decades with the RM of Coalfields Council, including the last 14 years as reeve.
“As far as these boards that I'm on, that can't happen without somebody at home taking care of things,” said Stan. “My wife has calved more cows, fed more bales in March and April, while I go away to meetings.”
Family has been an important part of their farm. Stan and Paula have five grown-up children – Christine, James, Kendra, Monica and Steven – and three grandchildren.
“As with all family farms, the children had to do their share,” said Cyrenne. “Helping with the cattle was always a big part of their involvement.”
All five of their children have remained relatively close to the farm.
“Our farm would not be there where it is today if it wasn't for this bunch,” Stan said. “They have been a stone's throw away … if I need help with something.”
Paula noted that the Farmer's Appreciation Evening was the same night as Monica's birthday.
Stan also proudly announced that Steven wants to take over operations of the farm once he and Paula opt to retire.
“Steven has certainly embraced the new technology,” said Stan. “He can't wait to get on this stuff. It's just the greatest thing.”
Technology has created a lot of changes for farming operations, Stan said. They used to use the tractor to cultivate regularly. Cultivation isn't part of the operation anymore.
“If there's such a thing as summer fallow, we fly over top with the sprayer, and we're done in an hour,” said Stan.
He wondered how his father would react if the eldest Lainton were to sit in a tractor today, and see a radio, a monitor, a GPS and a box with TV cameras hooked up.
“What would he think? How we have advanced so much in the last years to become more efficient, and still, somehow, we don't have more time,” said Stan.
Farming is something that one has to love for it to be a career, Stan said. The wages being paid out for other jobs are great, which makes it easy to leave agriculture. But for those who love farming, it's a wonderful career.