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Nominations accepted for Farm Dog of the Year

Farmers with exceptional farm dogs may want to nominate their canine companions for the 2021 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year contest.

This is the third year the American Farm Bureau Federation competition is celebrating dogs that work alongside farmers and ranchers.

“Even in these uncertain times, farm and ranch work doesn’t stop, and farmers count on farm dogs to be right there to face these challenges together,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said.

In addition to being helpful around the farm, dogs can be a source of comfort during difficult times. Scientific studies have shown that spending a few minutes with a dog can lower anxiety and blood pressure, and can help fight depression.

“These dogs seem to have a lot of empathy,” Leo Tammi, an Augusta County Farm Bureau member who relies on dogs to help with his family’s sheep farm, said. Tammi’s border collie Hemi was in the top 10 in last year’s competition.

“We depend on our dogs to help us get the work done, but we also depend on them to reflect the love we give them. They love their work, and they’re a special part of the family,” Tammi noted.

Dogs will be judged on their helpfulness to the farmer and their family, playfulness and obedience. Farm dog owners must be Farm Bureau members to enter dogs in the competition. The grand prize winner will receive $5,000, which will be presented at the AFBF convention in January; a year’s worth of Purina dry dog food; and recognition as the 2021 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year. Up to four runners-up will each receive $1,000.

People’s Choice Pup also is returning to the competition. A popular element of the 2020 contest, it lets social media followers vote for, comment on, share and like their favorite farm dogs. AFBF will profile the top 10 dogs starting in October, and the public can vote for their favorites. The 2021 People’s Choice Pup will receive bragging rights and a $50 cash prize.

AFBF is accepting nominations through Aug. 20. Eligibility guidelines and submission information are available at fb.org/2021farmdog.