Grey Bruce Farmers’ Week has been a main stay for the agricultural industry in Grey and Bruce Counties since 1966 however, due to COVID-19 the event was put on hold for 2020 with the last in-person taking place in 2019.
Each year, the seven-day conference is held in Elmwood and hosts a wide variety of speakers in every field of agriculture from dairy, goat, sheep, horse, beef and crops to ecological topics.
The featured commodities have evolved as the area’s agricultural focus has changed, but the mandate to provide information to producers and agribusiness has remained firm. Producers have supported our programming for 55 years, so the committee would like to give back to the community. With that mandate in mind, the Grey Bruce Farmers’ Week Committee has established an annual $1,000 Grey Bruce Farmers’ Week Prize in conjunction with the University of Guelph, Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), to recognize new veterinarians entering food animal practices serving producers in Grey and Bruce Counties. This award recognizes the individual’s past accomplishments, but also encourages their future contributions, and commitment to our rural communities.
On June 12, 2021, the OVC Class of 2021 Virtual Veterinary Oath Ceremony took place. The GBFW Committee was delighted to watch this ceremony and to announce that Dr. Heather Reinhardt is the recipient of the 2021 GBFW award.
Heather grew up in South Bruce County (Teeswater), on a small dairy farm. The farm has been in their family for four generations. Since Heather was a young child, she has been highly involved in the farm work. She much preferred being out in the barn caring for all the calves or kittens than spending time in the house. Heather was an active member of the local dairy 4-H club and started riding horses at the age of 11. Although the farm was mostly dairy cattle, when she was a teenager, she purchased a few sheep and started her own small sheep flock.
During her undergraduate degree Heather was fortunate to gain experience working in the swine industry. She managed a sow barn, and worked for Southwest Vets, a swine specialty veterinary clinic. Prior to attending veterinary school, Heather completed a Master of Science Degree in livestock nutrition.
Heather always wanted to be a veterinarian; however, over the years, many experiences and mentors influenced and shaped her reasons for pursuing this career. Heather loves animals and has a deep passion to help them and work with them. Being a veterinarian will allow her to blend that passion with a desire to be involved in agriculture and production medicine. Heather views veterinary medicine as an opportunity for a diverse career path with many different areas of interest and opportunity.
Veterinarians are not only involved in health management of food animal production systems but also are highly involved in production management. Heather chose to serve in a large animal practice as that is where her roots lie. She is so excited to be working within the agriculture community and have the opportunity to work alongside the hard-working families that provide us with our food. She is also pleased to return to her hometown region and provide support to her family run dairy farm.
Dr. Reinhardt is currently employed at the Walkerton Hanover Veterinary Clinic, and the Walkerton Equine Clinic. She will be performing a diverse set of roles and services within the clinics. It may be too early to ask Heather what her specialty will be, but she is hopeful that her training in livestock nutrition will be a unique asset to the clinics, in addition to her passion for production management. She is looking forward to beautiful sunny days on the road, driving around the countryside and chatting with local farmers about cows and other livestock!
The Grey Bruce Farmers’ Week Committee congratulates Dr. Heather Reinhardt, and wishes her all the best in her future endeavours!