One of the few dairy farms left in Westman is being recognized for its contributions to agriculture, innovation and producing top-quality cows.
The Donohoe family of Brandon was celebrated for 50-plus years of hard work at the BMO Manitoba Farm Family Awards on Thursday.
BMO Financial Group, along with the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair administration, honoured the Donohoes, along with five other families, during a lunch and ceremony at the Dome Building.
“On behalf of my family, I would like to thank BMO for having us here today for dinner,” said Garry Donohoe, who founded Donfield Farms, and is a past director of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba. “We have all been on the same farm for the past 52 years. It’s all we’ve ever done.”
Garry’s son, Jamie, is part owner and works on the farm full-time. This is good for Garry as he and his wife, Garda, are planning on retiring this year.
Garry also has help from his three daughters and several grandchildren.
The farm was established in 1970 by Garry and his father, Blake. They farm 2,000 acres of corn, alfalfa, barley, wheat, canola and soybeans. They also have one of the few dairies left in Westman, milking 75 cows in a parlour and free-stall setup, which was the first of its kind when it was built in 1965. The cows are outside year-round either on pasture, or straw pack in the winter.
The family is no stranger to awards. Last year, Holstein Canada announced a third Master Breeder Shield for the dairy herd, the first time a Manitoba group was awarded three shields and only the second in the Prairie provinces. They have shown their dairy cattle across Canada, earning several trophies.
Garry and Blake have both been president of the Manitoba Holstein branch. Garry was leader of the Brandon Dairy 4-H club for 25 years as well. Blake was a Holstein Canada national director. Following in their footsteps, Jaime has also been a 4-H leader and Manitoba Holstein branch director.
None of this success would’ve been possible if it wasn’t for Garry’s fellow farmers and family. “We have been fortunate with really good neighbours that have helped us out over the years whenever we need it,” he said. “I have the best family in the world.”
It was wonderful to see everyone gathered again after two years away, said Derek Schroeder, BMO’s vice-president of business banking for the southern Prairies.
This awards ceremony was especially poignant as it demonstrated the resiliency and dedication of the agriculture community while it navigated the pandemic and record-breaking drought conditions during the growing season.
“We are delighted to celebrate this time-honoured tradition and the hard-working families of Manitoba,” Schroeder said in his remarks. “Through this program we recognize the next generation of farmers leading the way. The six families we are welcoming today are being recognized for their innovation, experience and wise stewardship of our resources.”
Source: Brandon Sun