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 Convention.

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. AFBF, with support from Nestlé Purina PetCare, recognized Fit, four regional runners-up and a People’s Choice Pup at its convention.

“It’s exciting to partner with Purina for the fourth annual Farm Dog of the Year contest, providing the public with another glimpse into daily life on the farm,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Farming and ranching can be stressful, even on the best days. Farm dogs can help ease the burden as they often play a dual role as both working dogs and companions to farm families.”

The contest celebrates farm dogs that work alongside farmers 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 2022 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year award, is five years old and has been with the Deaks since she was a puppy. “Fit is pretty much my right-hand dog or right-hand girl,” Cindy explained. “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 again this year. This included $5,000 in prize money, a trophy plate, a year’s supply of Pro-Plan dog food and other Purina products for Fit.

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
  • Cinco, owned by Utah Farm Bureau member Caleb Smith, from the Western region

A panel of judges with expertise in the pet care industry, veterinary medicine and communications reviewed more than 100 nominations to select the 2022 Farm Dog of the Year. Judging criteria included the dog’s helpfulness to the farmer and their family, playfulness and their role in making life better on and off the farm. Farm Bureau members submitted written responses to questions, photos and video clips to nominate their dogs for Farm Dog of the Year.

People’s Choice Pup

Farm Bureau Names 2022 Farm Dog of the Year

Iorek, owned by NYFB member Amanda Farnsworth. Photo courtesy of Amanda Farnsworth

Runner-up Iorek, owned by NYFB member Amanda Farnsworth, was also named People’s Choice Pup in a social media contest with online voting as part of the overall competition. Iorek wins bragging rights, a year’s supply of Pro-Plan dog  food and other Purina products.

Five other dogs rounded out the top 10 in the overall Farm Dog of the Year contest and were contenders for People’s Choice Pup: Hasty, owned by Arizona Farm Bureau members Ben and Ashley Menges; Dixie, owned by Idaho Farm Bureau member Kaylie Ottley; Keeper, owned by Kansas Farm Bureau member Donna Ashcraft; Maybelline, owned by New Hampshire Farm Bureau member Mary Tichy; and Ruger, owned by Texas Farm Bureau member Laurie Stevens.

Dogs participated in live demonstrations of their skills at the AFBF Convention in January. Photos by Enrico Villamaino