GUELPH, ONT. (Nov. 21, 2023) – Heidi McFadden of the Kawartha Lakes Haliburton 4-H Association was awarded the 2023 Bertram and Hazel Stewart 4-H Dairy Youth Education Award and Bursary at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto in early November. The Award and Bursary was established by the Stewart family in honour of the late Bertram and Hazel Stewart’s deep commitment and passion toward agriculture, education and 4-H.
“Such an honour to give this award my parents established in 2010. Mom and Dad’s passion for 4-H, education and agriculture will now carry on for years to come,” says Kelly French, daughter of Bertram and Hazel Stewart.
Heidi is a Grade 11 student at Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School who lives on a small dairy farm, and has been a 4-H member since she was nine years old. When she was 14, Heidi started her own business called Pro-Bot — Fun Coding for Kids, where she taught children the fundamentals of computer coding. With the earnings from the business, Heidi purchased her first heifer under the farm name Breakthrough Cattle Company.
Heidi started in 4-H in her local dairy club at 9, and has completed seven additional dairy clubs over the past seven years, as well as beef, horse and dog livestock clubs and life skills clubs such as egg, barn quilting and baking. “My involvement in 4-H has allowed me to develop leadership, networking and communications skills that I have been able to transfer across my school and community activities. As a 4-H Dairy participant I recently participated in the Regional Judging Day and Inter-County Judging Competition, as well as the EastGen (competition) for the last two years (where Heidi qualified to attend the 2023 TD Classic show at this year’s Royal Winter Fair).
Some of Heidi’s other achievements include:
- Volunteer tutor at the Norwood Library
- Awarded Ontario volunteer service award in 2020
- Elementary School Student Nutrition Program
- Founder of ProBot- Fun Coding for Kids
- Founder of Breakthrough Cattle Company
- Marketing and Sales Intern for Indian River Cattle Company
- Leahy Veggie Stand (2020-2022)
- Work on my family Holstein farm, McFadden Farms in Lakefield
- Director School Council Grade 9, 10, and 11
To be considered for the Bertram and Hazel Stewart 4-H Dairy Youth Education Award and Bursary, applicants must be a 4-H participant in good standing who is enrolled in Grade 9, 10 or 11 and has expressed intent to pursue post-secondary education.
“Thank you to the Stewart Family for working with the Ontario 4-H Foundation and their continuous support of this award and bursary,” says Naomi Lutes, Chair, Ontario 4-H Foundation. “Through this the Stewart family is supporting youth education in the dairy industry for the future.”
As for the future, Heidi said this in her application: “My ultimate goal is to combine my two passions: technology and agriculture. Looking ahead, I plan to pursue a university education in the field of agricultural technology. This will allow me to merge my two interests to contribute to the advancement and sustainability of agriculture, ultimately benefiting both the industry and society as a whole.”
She continues: “In terms of my career and business goals, I envision myself in a role where I can actively bridge the gap between technology and agriculture, introducing innovative solutions that enhance productivity, sustainability, and efficiency within the agricultural sector. Whether it’s through developing smart farming tools, precision agriculture systems, or sustainable farming practices, my goal is to leave a lasting, positive impact on the agricultural industry.”
Each year the committee selects one recipient who is presented their award during the TD Canadian Dairy 4-H Classic held at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. Once the award recipient successfully completes their first year of post-secondary education, they will receive a $1,000 bursary. Applications for the Bertram and Hazel Stewart 4-H Dairy Youth Education Award and Bursary will re-open in 2024.
About 4-H Ontario
4-H Ontario is a non-profit positive youth development organization that builds youth as leaders within their communities and assets to the world. With roots in rural Ontario, today it is open to youth of all backgrounds across the province. 4-H youth ages 6–21 and screened, engaged volunteer leaders come together to learn about selected topics through fun hands-on activities and mentorship. There are also provincial camps, conferences, competitions and national and international travel opportunities available to further develop skills in leadership, business, self-confidence and more. 4-H provides youth with a place they can be involved, accepted, valued and heard while developing valuable skills for leadership and life.
For more information please contact:
Mary Haurilak, Communications Manager