Adopted boy adapting to farm life
By Tom Collins
DOUGLAS It didnt take long for Austin Crogie to develop an eye for heifers.
The eight-year-old boy was adopted by Allan and Tammy Crogie in 2013 and the day Austin moved in, Allan took him out to the herd to let Austin choose his own calf for show competitions. After spending a few minutes looking at all the animals, Austin chose Martha Cumberlain Pearl, which happened to be Allans best heifer.
“I gained a kid, and I lost my best heifer all on the same day,” Allan is fond of saying.
Austin was united with the Crogies after an article ran in the May 2013 edition of Farmers Forum. The Childrens Aid Society (CAS) of Ottawa was looking for a farm family to adopt Austin, who had spent the first seven years of his life in the city. When Allans co-worker saw the article, he showed it to the fifth-generation beef farmer and said, “You know what, Allan? You should adopt that little boy because he needs a home.”
Austin has had a difficult background: He was not physically and emotionally supported and cared for by
his biological parents. His four siblings were already adopted three now live in Edmonton, with the fourth in east Ottawa so there was a bit of a rush to find Austin a home. However, because of specific issues, CAS was looking for mature couples with no kids who live on the farm.
The Crogies who run River Knolls Farms in Douglas, about 90 minutes west of Ottawa contacted CAS and three months later, on Aug. 16, last year, Austin moved in.
“The criteria was pretty hard, but Farmers Forum came through for them in the end, because thats how they did it,” said Tammy. “Austin on most days is just a regular boy. If you just forget you adopted them and make them part of your family, it just kind of falls into place.”
Austin did have to learn the rules of farm life: Be safe around animals and equipment, and when something goes wrong on the farm, you just drop what youre doing to tend to it. Austin now feeds and waters cows, piles wood, helps with yard work and, of course, shows cattle. Hes won a lot of ribbons, including first place in peewee showmanship at the Lindsay Central Exhibition in late September.
“He loves the cattle shows,” said Tammy. “Austin is absolutely awesome in showmanship. I think he likes the control of it, because his whole life has been out of control. Thats a huge self-esteem booster, to go out with a 1,100-pound cow and come back with a trophy two feet tall.”