The Paul Beingessner Award for Excellence in Writing

Paul BeingessnerWorking with the family of Paul Beingessner, the National Farmers Union has established an annual literary prize in honour of Paul and his contribution to rural and agricultural journalism.

Paul Beingessner was a farmer, an activist, and a writer who defended Canada’s family farms until his tragic death in a farm accident in the spring of 2009. His widely-read and respected weekly columns brought a fresh and progressive perspective to rural and farm issues.

The Beingessner Award is named after Paul Beingessner of Truax Saskatchewan, who passed away in the spring of 2009 in a tragic farm accident.


Paul was born on April 26, 1954, and returned to the family farm after obtaining his BA (Hon) in Psychology in 1976 and working with youth in Regina for a few years. Described as the “god-father of modern shortline railways” by former NFU President Stewart Wells, Paul was instrumental in the founding of Saskatchewan’s first shortline railway, Southern Rails Co-operative, and served as general manager from 1991 to 1997. When he left Southern Rails, he stayed on as a board member, and worked with the Ministry of Highways Short Line Advisory Unit supporting other efforts of farmers to start shortline railways. Since 1991, Paul wrote a weekly column on farming and transportation issues with a social justice focus featured in papers across Western Canada. After leaving the government in 1999, his expertise on transportation issues resulted in consulting work across Western Canada and the United States. Beingessner also served as a Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Delegate from 1996 to 1998, and was an ardent supporter of the CWB and ran for the position of director in 2008.

Young writers are encouraged to submit their work to the Paul Beingessner Award for Excellence in Writing.

Read work by past Paul Beingessner award winners here.

Award Criteria and Details:

There are two age categories – 15 to 21 years old, and 22 to 30 years old. An award in the amount of $500 will be awarded to one essay in each age category for a non-fiction open letter 500-1000 words in length. Note: Applicants can only win once per age category.

  • The theme of this year’s essay is to be announced
  • Deadline for entries is November 1, 2022.
  • The prizes of $500.00 will be awarded at the NFU Convention in November 2020.
  • All or some entries may be published by the National Farmers Union.

Send entries to the National Farmers Union by email to: or by mail to: National Farmers Union, 2717 Wentz Ave., Saskatoon, SK, S7K 4B6

We will confirm that we received your email submission within a week. If you do not get a confirmation email, please resend your entry or phone the office at (306) 652-9465.

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