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Newfoundland dairy farmers named 2015 Outstanding Young Farmers for Atlantic region

Mar. 24, 2015 - David and Sara Simmons of Pure Holsteins in Little Rapid, NL were chosen as the 2015 Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) for the Atlantic region at a recent OYF event in Moncton, NB. The third generation farm couple will represent their region at the Outstanding Young Farmers national event later this year in Edmonton.

Farming runs deep for David and Sara Simmons. They both grew up on dairy farms, met while studying at Nova Scotia Agricultural College and have a lifelong passion for agriculture as they carry on the family tradition. Their farming operation began in 2008 when they began dairy farming with David's family. In just two years, they took over full management of the 100 cow milking herd. In 2011, they started Pure Holsteins Ltd. that includes a unique succession and business plan. David and Sara lease the barn and quota from David's father and his two uncles, and they manage the cows and production.

"Succession planning can be one of the most challenging topics to address in a family farm business," says Darryl Worsley, National Director, Agriculture, CIBC and national board member of Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers program. "David and Sara have made a very strategic business decision for their family to build a plan for how the farm will transition from one generation to the next. This will help position them for long-term success, and prepare for the next generation of dairy farmers in their family."

Under David and Sara's management, herd productivity has increased from an average of 27 litres per cow per day (3.6 fat) in 2010 to 38 litres (4.12 fat) in 2014. A special emphasis on breeding high quality cows has improved the profitability of cows and offspring. And they recently installed the first robotic milker in Newfoundland.

David and Sara's young daughter (Felicity, 4) has already shown a keen interest in the farm, and they are planning to start a 4-H club in their community for her and other interested children. The Simmons' are proud of their family farm business, and support their community by volunteering on the Deer Lake Agricultural Fall Fair committee. And David is president of the NS/NL Holstein Branch.

Celebrating 35 years, Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer CropScience, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.

Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers for 2015 will be chosen at the National Event in Edmonton, Alberta from November 17-22, 2015.