The winner of the 2022 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year award is Fit, a Border Collie owned by Florida Farm Bureau members Cindy and Andrew Deak, who live in rural Lady Lake, not far from Harbor Hills Country Club.
Work on the family farm takes everyone pitching in and doing their part, including four-legged friends, prompting Farm Bureau to launch the Farm Dog of the Year contest four years ago – now a popular feature of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Convention.
The contest celebrates farm dogs that work alongside farmers and ranchers as they sustainably produce nutritious food for families and their pets across America. Rounding up livestock and chasing off predators are among the many tasks performed by farm dogs.
Fit, the grand prize winner of the 2022 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year award, is five years old and has been with the Deaks since she was a puppy. She helps move sheep from pasture to pasture and assists with feeding and other chores. Fit also assists Cindy Deak in training younger dogs how to herd animals.
“Fit is pretty much my right-hand dog or right-hand girl,” Cindy Deak said. “A really good working dog can make or break a farm situation. If I’m on the farm, Fit’s almost always with me, as our prime working dog. We’re very kindred spirits. I feel like our souls are almost connected.”
Purina donated prizes for the contest, including $5,000 in prize money, a trophy plate, a year’s supply of Pro-Plan dog food and other Purina products for Fit. The company has been helping dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives through scientifically based nutritional innovations for more than 90 years.
Four regional runners-up in the contest will each also receive $1,000 in prize money, a trophy plate and Purina products. They are:
- Iorek, owned by New York Farm Bureau member Amanda Farnsworth, from the Northeast region;
- On the Lamb Zip, owned by South Carolina Farm Bureau member Robin Elliott, from the Southern region;
- Digger, owned by Ohio Farm Bureau member Kim Beckman, from the Midwest region; and
- Cinco, owned by Utah Farm Bureau member Caleb Smith, from the Western region.