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Long Acre Ranch named RVC's 2023 Master Farm Family

Tracy Hanson and Earl Munro are fourth-generation cattle farmers in Rocky View County’s Yankee Valley area, east of Airdrie. They collected RVC's Master Family Farm award alongside other members of their family. 

Long Acre Ranch Ltd. wrangled in Rocky View County’s 2023 Master Farm Family Award on Sept. 1.

“Our family has been in the community since 1913 when my great grandparents came and to be nominated by people who we consider our mentors is certainly humbling and an honour,” said Tracy Hanson who owns Long Acre Ranch together with her husband, Earl Munro.  

Hanson and Munro are fourth-generation cattle farmers in the county’s Yankee Valley area, east of Airdrie. They collected their award from RVC reeve Crystal Kissel, alongside Hanson’s parents and previous owners of the ranch, Bonar and Sandra Hanson. 

"On behalf of Rocky View County Council, I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks and congratulations to our 2023 Master Farm Family for all their hard work, dedication, and commitment to our community. We are proud to have the family join the long list of deserving recipients," Kissel said.

Bonar Hanson’s passion and understanding of low-stress livestock handling has been instilled in the operation and continues to be adopted by Long Acre Ranch, states RVC’s website.

“We have adopted the low stress method, so we do everything by horse,” Hanson explained. “We have no ATV or motorcycles, or quads. The welfare of the animal is the focus of how we handle them, when we do handle them.”

She added that the operation is truly a family-run ranch, as Hanson and Munro work alongside each other day in and day out. Their two daughters helped before they left home, and during busy times many community members lend a helping hand.

“When it comes to busy times like branding and vaccinating or processing animals for their shots, we rely on family and friends to come and help,” Hanson said.

Hanson and Munro are active members of the community by staying involved on various boards and community organizations. As their kids grew up, they were active 4H parents and leaders, and they are also on the board of directors for the local Irricana United Church, as well as the board of the Rocky View Gas Co-op previously.

“We try to stay involved with community organizations because it takes a community to keep the community going,” Hanson said.

Aside from being active in the community, the Long Acre Ranch practices sustainable agriculture.

With their location at the end of the Western Irrigation District, the family was able to install an irrigation system initially with side-rolls, now a centre pivot, which has allowed for a more consistent feed system year-round.

Rocky View County acquired some of the Long Acre Ranch land for the construction of the East Balzac Water Treatment Plant in recent years, which provides water to CrossIron Mills mall and other East Balzac developments.

Hanson’s great-grandparents settled in Alberta in 1913 when they immigrated from Sweden. In 1947, her grandparents, Helmer and Mae Hanson, purchased the section of land bordering Graeme Dam – part of the Western Irrigation District, and dubbed it Hanson's Ranch.

Together they raised four boys, Bob, Bonar, Murray, and Gary. The original farm was passed down to Bonar Hanson and his wife, Sandra, who later handed over the reins to their daughter, Tracy Hanson, and her husband, in 2000. 

Hanson and Munro continue running the commercial cow and calf operation and retain ownership to raise grass-fed yearlings. 

The Hanson’s ranch evolved into what is today known as Long Acre Ranch Ltd, a tribute to the countless hours Tracy Hanson and her three sisters spent in their years growing up, grazing cattle along the ditches - known as, grazing the “long acre” in Australia, stated the RVC website.

As for the future of the ranch, Hanson hopes it remains a family operation.

“That all depends on the next generation having the passion and desire to ranch,” she said. “Farm succession is a process and it takes time to sort of see whether there is a successor that will take it over.”

Candidates for the Master Farm Family award are nominated by peers in the community, and applications are reviewed by Rocky View County’s Agricultural Services Board. 

Since 1989, the County has been presenting this award to a Rocky View County ranch or farm family who shows excellence in community service, agriculture business and industry involvement, team farm management, and technical farm production and sustainability practices.

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