The Paskal Family

Rick Paskal and Family

Rick Paskal was born and raised on his dad's farm in the Turin area. Rick attended school in Turin and Picture Butte. At the age of 16 Rick moved to the Yukon to live with his older sister and he worked on various road and building construction projects.

Rick married his wife, Diana, on Nov. 1, 1975 in Picture Butte. They returned to the Yukon for 2 years, before moving back to the Picture Butte area to start their new life and family. Rick and Diana have 3 sons: Kurt, Kevin and Craig.

Upon returning to Picture Butte, Rick started a trucking business hauling rapeseed to Canbra Foods in Lethbridge. At the same time Rick sensed an opportunity and started buying and delivering feed grains to the growing feeding industry in Southern Alberta. Throughout the late 70's Rick had met and made several grain deals with Cor Van Raay. Rick’s trucking and grain merchandising business fell on hard times in the early 80’s and Rick was forced to sell. Rick needed a job so he approached Cor about working for him and after some discussions they decided to partner together and start up a small trucking, grain and cattle merchandising business. This partnership was called Butte Grain Merchants and Rick and Cor started their ride together in 1982. Over the next 30 years they increased the size of their trucking fleet, built two feedlots - Turin Feeders and Lost Lake Feedlot and acquired several quarters of irrigated land.

In 2001, Rick also acquired his own feedlot - Rick Paskal Livestock - and land base located east of Iron Springs, on highway 25 (a feedlot owned previously by Haney Farms). In addition, Rick fed cattle in a number of custom feedlots in the Picture Butte area. Butte Grain Merchants and Rick Paskal Livestock thrived and grew until 2010 when Rick bought Cor's share of Butte Grain Merchants. A new company called Paskal Cattle Co. was created. It consisted of over 5000 acres of irrigated land and 3 feedlots with a capacity of 55,000 head. In 2008 Rick, through Butte Grain Merchants, invested in a food distribution company in Calgary called Western Quality Meats and also a beef and lamb processing plant in Innisfail.

Rick sons entered the business when he started Rick Paskal Livestock. All are still active and work in the day-to-day operations in one capacity or another. Kurt is a lamb buyer for Sun Gold Specialty Meats located in Innisfail. Kevin is a grain buyer and assistant farm manager for VRP Farms and responsible for Roto-Mix sales. Craig is a cattle buyer for VRP and is the operations manager for VRP Farm’s eight feedlots.

In the fall of 2015, Paskal Cattle Company, Cor Van Raay Farms and Van Raay Land amalgamated to form Van Raay Paskal Farms (VRP Farms Ltd.).

Rick has always played a strong political role within the beef industry. Notably he was a director for the Alberta Cattle Feeders' board for over 17 years. Rick also was one of the founding members of the National Cattle Feeders and was its first president serving a three-year term. He has a passion for fostering strong relationships in the industry which has been helpful especially when advocating for Albertan and Canadian beef producers over issues stemming mainly around U.S. trade challenges: border closure post BSE, Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) legislation, and NAFTA issues.

Rick has always been a supporter of the local communities. He and his boys share a love of baseball, Rick himself being involved in the construction of baseball fields in Picture Butte and Lethbridge.

The relationship between Rick, Cor and their families has been a successful one and Rick had this to say about his long-time partner, “I am to this day respectful of Cor’s never ending enthusiasm for agriculture." Rick looks forward to establishing VRP Farms Ltd. as a major competitor for Western Canadian feeder cattle and grains.

Throughout the journey Rick's biggest attribute has been his wife Diana, his sons and past and present employees. Rick says "I have been so privileged to have so many awesome people work for me in the past and so many that presently work for us now. It's such a pleasure to go to work everyday.”