Tom and Leslie Robinson, along with their three daughters Rosalie, Lanae, and Miranda, own and operate Blue Diamond Farms in South Freetown, PEI. Originally Tom’s parents Brian and Martha had purchased the farm in 2003, but in 2016 Tom and Leslie purchased the farm from his parents. The milking herd typically consists of 85 cows with a mixture of 70 dry cows and heifers. Tom loves to farm as it keeps him close to his family, as his girls can come out and visit him at anytime. Tom is passionate about all things surrounding the dairy industry and knows how vital it is to keep the consumers’ support with supply management.
Name: Tom Robinson
Occupation: Owner and Operator of Blue Diamond Farm
What does your job entail?
I manage one employee who does the milking and daily chores. I do all the feeding, bedding, and management of animals, and fieldwork. I typically do anything and everything.
How long have you been involved in the agriculture\food industry on PEI?
We moved to the Island from Nova Scotia in 2003, so 17 years.
What is your education/ experience prior to entering your current job?
I was born and raised on a dairy farm in Nova Scotia. When I was nine years old, my family sold the farm, so I worked on various local dairy farms in the area when I got older. When I got into my later teens, we decided to get back into dairy farming again. Due to the lower price of quota in PEI, we agreed this was where we would come to farm.I had a scholarship for the Dalhousie Agricultural College, but I went for only one day, and it turned out to be the day we bought the farm, so we packed our bags and moved.
Are you involved in any extracurricular or community activities?
I keep pretty busy with the three girls, taking them to skate, to dance class, and to soccer. I’ve been on various boards throughout the years. I was in the Central Holstein club for ten years. I was the President of the PEI Holstein branch for eight years, and I came off in 2014 or 2015. I was also the Chairman of the Promotions Committee for the 2019 National Holstein Convention in Charlottetown.
What’s your favourite way to eat/drink milk products ?
Well, we drink a lot of milk, we have a lot of dairy in the house. The girls like to support all the local dairy bars, so we tend to do that at least once a week.
When you were a kid, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Farmer. I always wanted to be one, as I knew a hockey career wouldn’t be easy.
What would you want consumers to know about your business and the agriculture/food industry?
Support local agriculture in everything; we need local support to continue to do what we love to do. I think that Islanders really understands what supporting locals is all about. The ADL Plant is a fantastic co-op that farmers own, so we take a little more pride saying we own it and seeing how well it does. Consumers need to continue to support supply management, it’s incredibly crucial that we keep it intact; it helps the Canadian industry thrive. It is so important that we keep it as it needs to be accepted and supported.
Why do you do what you do?
Well, I love it. I like being my own boss, working outdoors, and being around the animals. You never know what is going to happen; everyday is different. It’s a great lifestyle to live and to raise a family in, farming shows them what hard work is, plus I get to spend time with my family.