A group of 50 dairy farmers and processors from across Russia participated in The DairyNews Motor Rally, travelling from Montreal across Ontario over five days in July learning about the successful combinations of quality genetics, feeding systems, farm management, equipment and technology as well as innovative processing and entrepreneurial excellence.     Courtesy photo

Vera Mozgovaya, editor in chief, The DairyNews raises the Motor Rally Flag to start tour Day three, as Mayor Andy Letham, welcomes the group with agriculture development officer, Kelly Maloney, and leads them to Kawartha Lakes stops at Mariposa Dairy, Kawartha Holsteins, and Green Tractors. The Rally also visited Kawartha Dairy, Grasshill Farm, Crovalley Holsteins and Benrise Farm. Courtesy photo

KAWARTHA LAKES – As many as 50 Russian dairy farmers and processors visited Ontario and Quebec in July to see for themselves what makes the Canadian dairy industry so successful.

Motor Rally Canada, a five day car rally, toured the visiting dairymen through fertile western Quebec farmland and Ottawa. Next, they travelled down the rugged Highway 7 corridor to meet innovators in the City of Kawartha Lakes, before moving on to Guelph and finally Niagara Falls.

Hosted by Leading Livestock Genetics and the City of Kawartha Lakes, the Russians participated in an annual event organized by the online dairy publication, The DairyNews.

Among the stops during the 1,200 kilometre event were elite genetics at some of the best managed herds in the country, the most modern robotic farms on the continent and Kawartha Lakes’ innovative processing facilities.

They took in Canadian culture while attending the annual “Twilight meeting” at Benrise Farms in Bowmanville, learned about the latest in precision agriculture during a stop at Omemee’s Green Tractors and saw traceability in action at a milk recording laboratory in Guelph.

An event staged annually by Russia’s premiere online dairy publication, The DairyNews, Motor Rally educates dairy farmers and processors on industry innovation. With this visit it goes international for the first time as they explored the nuances of the Canadian dairy industry. Between 2010 and 2017 Motor Rally’s 910 participants have travelled 10,200 kilometers, visiting 35 farms and 23 dairies in 22 of Russia’s 89 regions.

“In 2017 we decided that it is high time to visit a new country. Canada is very interesting from the point of dairy business. In this country it is well organized policy and scheme of work among farmers and processors. Moreover, it is exciting to understand Canadian dairy philosophy and lifestyle,” said Vera Mozgovaya, chief editor, The DairyNews.

Kelly Maloney, agricultural development officer, City of Kawartha Lakes, wrote after the event:

“It was truly an amazing event. It really took a whole team to coordinate, both in Russia and here in Canada. We had just a handful of Canadian planning team members spread across central Ontario, and together we assisted in arranging tour hosts, meals and accommodations, as well as preparing marketing and promotions to secure sponsors and participants.

“As a result of the tour we have opened the door to understanding and trust between the farmers, processors and industry suppliers of our two countries. There are currently discussions ongoing about export sales of equipment and genetics. We are also pleased to report approximately $100,000 in spending (excluding air travel) in Ontario and Montreal related to this week-long event, with approximately $20,000 of that spent in Kawartha Lakes.

“One message we heard over and over again from the participants was how amazed they were at the willingness of the host farms and businesses to share information.”

“We were impressed by the farmers who opened their farms to us and showed us their daily work, answered all the questions and gave us a chance to look behind the doors. It was impressive to see well organized farms, progressive supply management, family team spirit and the big passion in agriculture,” wrote one of the Russian tourists in an email.