By Sunny Andersen
Through its Farm Dog of the Year contest, the American Farm Bureau Federation, along with sponsor Purina, celebrates dogs supporting farmers and ranchers. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall recently spoke with Utah rancher Beth Crandall, owner of the 2020 Farm Dog of the Year, and Nicole Postin, Nestle’ Purina Pet Care representative, to discuss the Farm Dog of the Year Contest as it enters its fifth year.
The Farm Dog of the Year contest also showcases for consumers the talents of a farm dog and the dual role they play as a working dog and a companion.
The contest connects both sides of the supply chain through the shared value of pet ownership. Sharing the story of a farm dog allows for the understanding of how dogs help stress in cattle and lower overhead costs for the producer.
The dogs work off instinct and step in like a ranch hand. Crandall explains how she works with Flint, an Australian shepherd: “I point in a direction, and he immediately goes in that direction and does what I need him to do, without telling him anything.”
For the contest, a panel of judges will look for a combination of how the dog enriches life on the farm or ranch, the relationship with the owner and the overall health of the dog.
Postin explained, “The main thing that has been notable is that strong bond with their owner … a once in a lifetime relationship.” She went on to explain how the most recent award winner said she was a “kindred spirit” with her dog.
Farmers and ranchers are welcome to submit nominations for the 2023 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year contest through July 15.
The grand prize winner of the Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year will win a year’s worth of Purina Pro-Plan dog food and $5,000 in prize money. The winner will be recognized at the Farm Dog of the Year award ceremony at the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in January 2023. Up to four regional runners-up will each win $1,000 in prize money.
Beginning in October, members of the public are invited to vote online for their favorite dog in the People’s Choice Pup part of the overall competition. The People’s Choice Pup will win bragging rights and Purina products including one year’s worth of Purina Pro-Plan dry dog food. The winner of People’s Choice Pup, along with the Farm Dog of the Year and runners-up, will be announced in January at AFBF’s Convention.
Hear more from Duvall, Crandall and Postin in this episode of the Farmside Chat podcast.
Sunny Andersen, a senior at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, is an intern in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Communications Department.