Farmers don't take snow days
Like most of the farmers of the 1,500 farms on Prince Edward Island, the MacKinnons of Sandy Rae Farm near Montague don't take snow days off.
Before sunrise 365 days a year - no matter the weather - Dannie or Alex MacKinnon is in the barn milking their 70 registered Holsteins, along with longtime herdsperson Calloway M'Cloud. They milk the cows twice a day at 4:00 am and 4:00 pm. Every second day, the milk truck must get through so a lot of time is spent in the tractor clearing the way. This week, there was a pick up at midnight to beat the bad weather
The MacKinnons take great pride in their animals and crops in order to produce top quality milk. This average-sized family farm purchases services in the local area and employs up to six students and part-time workers along with a full-time employee.
Sandy Rae Farm is not just their business - it's a legacy passed through six generations of MacKinnons since 1859. Because son Alex has returned to the farm with a B.Sc in Agriculture from the Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture (formerly NSAC), the future of this family farm remains bright.
Some 98 per cent of Canadian farms are family owned and operated. Agriculture contributes $100 billion annually to the national gross domestic product (GDP). Here in Prince Edward Island, agriculture and agri-food makes up about $418 million or 9.1 per cent of the province's GDP.1
The ambition, entrepreneurship, and spirit of hard work of farmers has helped build the province's economy. We may be a small province but we are mighty when it comes to agriculture, which contributes to our growing reputation as Canada's Food Island.
So, as the saying goes - "if you've eaten today, thank a farmer."
Video for Canada's Agriculture Day - February 16
1 Source: PEI Statistics Bureau, November 2014