Amy and Emmy Cronin
By Farm & Food Care
Starting up a business is challenging, and starting up a farm is no different. Add in an international component and it becomes more challenging yet.
Not all farmers take over the family farm. Amy Cronin and her husband Mike were both raised on dairy farms but became hog farmers after they married. Thanks to a lot of hard work, the farm has grown and expanded, with farms in both Ontario and Iowa.
“We had no idea how it would grow (in Iowa). We decided to start with one group and try it,” says Cronin. Going international was not in the plans for the farm. Cronin admits she did not like the idea at all at first, but it was the only place they could find barn space for expansion. They thought the first group would be the only group of pigs in the USA, but, five years later, have a system which is working well for them.
Mike is in the USA at least once per month, making sure everything is going fine, while Cronin spends the majority of her time in Ontario because of her strong industry involvement here.
Cronin credits the success of their operation, both here and in the USA, to a good team of employees.
“We have incredible people. Good people are our greatest asset after family,” says Cronin.
Cronin and her six year old daughter Emmy were featured in the 2012 Faces of Farming Calendar published by the Farm Care Foundation. Their page was sponsored by Molesworth Farm Supply because of Cronin’s work on the farm and in the industry.
The Cronins have a set of core values which are posted in all of their barns. One of their values is to further their education. While neither of them chose to attend college or university after high school, they’re now working hard to further their education. It’s a challenge balancing this with responsibilities related to running the farms, being involved in the industry, and raising their family of six children which also includes Alyssa , 14; Tyler, 13; Kyle , 11; Liam, 8 and Sam, 4.
Cronin graduated from the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program in 2009, and both she and Mike graduated from the Canadian Total Excellence in Agricultural Management Program out of the George Morris Centre in 2011. Mike is now enrolled in the Executive Pork Producer program of University of Illinois, which has him in school two days every two months. Cronin continues to take courses that will contribute to her business and leadership within her industry.
Cronin is active in the agricultural industry and in the community. She is the vice chair of Ontario Pork, the organization that represents Ontario’s 2800 hog farmers. She is also a director on many other farm organizations and has other roles in the industry.
Cronin and Mike are both involved in the church youth group, while Cronin is also a school board trustee and Mike is a soccer coach.