PAIN COURT — A pair of dairy farms are Eastern and East-Central Ontario’s recipients of the Bank of Montreal’s farm families of the year award.
The annual award given to farmers active in their communities formally changes hands at this year’s International Plowing match in Pain Court in Western Ontario on Sept. 22.
Pryme Farms at Brighton, in Northumberland County is a mixed operation including dairy cattle, beef animals and meat goats. Run by the Prins family, it only got into dairy three years ago. A pair of brothers in the area who had an active dairy farm were looking to retire but didn’t have anyone to pass the farm on to. Ryan Prins, meanwhile, had been a herd manager for a 200-head dairy herd in the area for 12 years before going on his own, and was keen to get back into dairy farming. So, he and his wife Christie took over the 38-head milking operation, expanding to milk 50. It was a direct buyout; the previous owners wanted to get completely out of the industry. Said Christie: “There’s nothing like debt to get you out of bed.”
The young farmers have remained active off the farm. Both have sat on provincial and national goat meat boards. Christie is a director with the Northumberland County Federation of Agriculture. Last year, the farm hosted Northumberland County’s annual Twilight meeting, a local variation on Breakfast on the Farm, hosting 700 mostly non-farmer guests. “We made a real point when it was our year to host to have a large presence of the non-farming community,” said Christie.
In South Stormont, the Zummach family, who run Raisinview Farms, are just off the heels of a big move. The transition from a freestall parlour to a freestall robot barn started last summer and just wrapped up in January, said David Zummach. “It’s been a busy year, with lots of learning curves.” Alongside the milking robot, Zummach put in automated ventilation, scraping and a TMR machine.
The farm’s been in the area since the 1940s, when Zummach’s grandfather moved down from Killaloe, a small town in Renfrew County.
Now Zummach farms with his parents, Mervin and Barbara-Ann, his wife Kylie, and their four girls.
A cash cropper as well as a dairy farmer, Zummach is a director with the Stormont Soil and Crop Improvement Association, as well as the president of the Stormont County Fair for the third year running. His mother is heavily involved in their local church, Ingleside United, as well as a local Meals on Wheels program. She’s also a director of the fair, and was its first female president in its 151-year history. Zummach’s wife does photography for the fair as well, and the girls all help out as needed.