Celebrating the importance of agriculture in the province, BMO and the Calgary Stampede gave their annual recognition of 19 southern Alberta farming families yesterday.

The families were the recipients of the 2009 BMO Farm Family Awards, which are given to hard-working families who embody the ideals of the past and present to uphold Alberta’s agricultural growth.

“These families are outstanding examples of how far farm management has come and the tremendous contributions these families make to enriching rural life in Alberta,” said Ted McCarron, a BMO senior vice-president.

David Chalack, president and chairman of the Calgary Stampede board, said the families are an integral part of the community.

“We are proud to recognize families who uphold the traditions of the past while helping the province’s future economic growth,” he added.

The 19 families were all presented with a personalized farm gate sign and had their photos taken. They were also given free admission to the Stampede and tickets to the rodeo.