Business & Policy
Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2015 chosen
By News release
Mar. 24, 2015 - Pork producers Mike and Amy Cronin of Bluevale, Ontario were chosen as the 2015 Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) for Ontario at a recent OYF event in Ottawa. The event included five farm couples, nominated for the Ontario honours, and special guest Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz brought greetings and congratulations to the honourees.
Mike and Amy have always been passionate about agriculture. They both grew up on family farms in Ontario, and knew their future would be on the farm. As a young married couple, they saw opportunity in the hog industry, starting Cronin Family Farms, and have never looked back.
"Mike and Amy represent everything positive and progressive about family farm businesses in Canada," says Jack Thomson, president of Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers program. "They have thrived in the hog business, despite very challenging times in this sector, by establishing goals, being ahead of the curve on production practices and diversifying to safeguard their business for succession planning."
In 1998, Mike and Amy bought their first farm – an 1,800 farrow to wean hog operation that included 150 acres. Over the years, their business and their family have continued to grow. Their six children are at the heart of everything they do. And they've grown their hog business with Canadian and U.S. operations by expanding their land base and production, always with a keen eye on risk management. Innovation drives many of their decisions, and in 2014 they built the first crate-free farrowing system in North America after researching the newest technology from around the world. Their barn includes a thumb print entry system, electronic sow feeders and video cameras.
Giving back to the community and industry is a high priority for Mike and Amy. Mike is involved in the Huron County Pork Producers, the local parish and as a youth soccer coach for more than 20 years. He was recently invited to be one of two Canadians to join the 21st Century Pork Forum in the U.S. Amy is a school board trustree, vice chair of the local credit union and is on the board of the Catholic Community Foundation of southwestern Ontario. She is the current chair of Ontario Pork and a recently appointed vice-chair of the Growth Steering Committee of Agriculture in Ontario.
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.