Tractor trip ends in tragedy

Elmira, Ont., dairy producers Henk and Bettina Schuurmans’ trans-Canada trip to promote Canadian dairy ended in tragedy near Saskatoon July 9.

The couple set off by tractor across Canada earlier last month with a plan to travel to British Columbia, meeting other farmers and raising the awareness of Canadian dairy.

In a collision with a truck on Highway 16 northwest of Saskatoon, Bettina Schuurmans was killed and her husband, Henk, was severely injured.

Anita Medl of SaskMilk said the dairy community across the nation is feeling the loss, and Saskatchewan farmers who had been hosting the couple and celebrating the trip “are crushed.”

“We spent time with them in Regina on the weekend,” she said.

“This is a tragic accident. These folks were so passionate about their industry. It’s a loss for all of us.”

The couple were featured in a photo on page 4 of The Western Producer’s July 5, 2018 issue:

Dairy farmers Henk and Bettina Schuurmans left their farm near Floradale, Ont., June 22 to embark on a trip to Vancouver Island driving a 6430 John Deere tractor. Travelling with Maple the cow, thy plan to see the country and chat with consumers about the importance of supply management, family farms and quality milk. They expect to reach the West Coast in four or five weeks and then transport the tractor home by truck in time for their son’s wedding. After that, they intend to head out on the road again, this time ending up in Halifax. The Schuurmans have packed a tent and camping gear but are hoping farmers along the way might offer them bed and breakfast. Follow their trip on Twitter @ CdnMilkTour. | Sharon Grose photo

Contact mike.raine@producer.com

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