P.E.I. dairy farmer carries on family business

Jim Day
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Cow contentment is high on Tom Robinson’s management chart.

Priority is placed on ensuring his 85 or so Holsteins are well fed, properly groomed and kept comfortable whether the animals are inside the barn with its good air quality and cozy peat moss for bedding, or if they are out roaming the grassy field.

“We do the best job that we can to make sure our animals are safe and healthy,’’ says Robinson.

“We treat our cows here just like people.’’

The 30-year-old farmer is in the process of purchasing the 154-acre farm in South Freetown from his parents.

He is thrilled to carry on the family operation knowing full well he can draw any time on his father’s 40 years of experience.

“I was born and raised into it,’’ says Robinson.

“I guess it’s in my blood. It’s just a good life. It’s rewarding working with animals.’’

Robinson gave local reporters a tour of the dairy operation as part of a recent farm tour organized by the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture, the P.E.I. Potato Board, and the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

While the operation in Robinson’s estimation is “pretty efficient’’, he still needs to work 13 or 14 hours each day.

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Seventy-five registered Holsteins are milked while Holstein genetics are merchandized.

Many of the cows are also flushed to improve herd and market embryos around the world.

Robinson and his wife Leslie, along with Robinson’s parents Brian and Martha, moved to P.E.I. in 2003 from Nova Scotia, where they had a milking operation of 80 to 90 cows.

As well as a dairy operation, Blue Diamond Farms grows corn silage and alfalfa, and mill their own grain.

P.E.I. Potato Board general manager Greg Donald says the farm tour consisted of this operation along with P.E.I. Potato Solutions because both are multi-generation and innovative.

“They’ve very adaptable,’’ says Donald.

“They’re leaders in adapting to change and progressive in the way they run their farm businesses.’’

jday@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/PEIGuardian

Organizations: P.E.I. Potato Board, Department of Agriculture, P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture P.E.I. Potato Solutions

Geographic location: P.E.I., South Freetown, Nova Scotia

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  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    July 29, 2015 - 09:56

    This is a great story. This young man takes pride in his hard work. We need more young farmers. People shopping around for a passport through our PNP should be made to work as an apprentice (farm laborer) for a year before getting citizenship. The unfortunate thing though is that once milked, the producer has no control over the quality of his product. It is handed over to be processed, effectively removing most nutrients and benefits of drinking milk. It's sad for the people. Pasteurization kills bacteria in the short run, but kills people in the long run.