Dairy farmer, advocate Bettina Schuurmans, 55

The Schuurmans were sharing their cross-country tour on their Canadian Milk Tour Twitter account. (Farm Credit Canada via Twitter)

Funeral services will be held Wednesday in Elmira, Ont. for well known dairy farmer Bettina Schuurmans, who with her husband took to the road this summer in support of Canada’s dairy sector.

Schuurmans and husband Henk, who owned and operated Milky Wave Farms near Elmira with their sons, had been on the road on their John Deere tractor since June 21, aiming to create conversations about Canadian milk and the supply management system.

The couple posted photos on social media during their westward trip from Elmira, featuring cow and calf sculptures Maple and Minnie, which rode along on the tractor.

They had planned to run an eastbound leg of their Canadian Milk Tour through Quebec and Atlantic Canada later this fall.

Henk Schuurmans, writing on Milky Wave’s Facebook page June 21, said the couple was “not planning to drive on big highways” during the trip, but rather stick to “any road that’s legal for a slow moving vehicle.”

The couple was westbound July 9 from Saskatoon headed toward Langham, Sask. on the Yellowhead Highway, when their tractor was hit by a semi truck.

Bettina Schuurmans was killed in the crash and Henk Schuurmans was hospitalized. According to son Tom on Twitter, Henk Schuurmans underwent surgery July 12.

“My thoughts are with the Schuurmans family in this difficult time,” federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay tweeted July 10. The Canadian Milk Tour, he wrote, “demonstrated the passion and pride of dairy farmers across Canada.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Henk Schuurmans as he recovers in hospital and, with the entire Schuurmans family who are dealing with this terrible loss,” Dairy Farmers of Canada wrote in a separate tweet July 10.

Visitations are to be held Monday and Tuesday at Milky Wave Farm, 1088 Jesse Place in Elmira from 3 to 7 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. respectively.

Schuurmans’ funeral will be Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Woodside Bible Fellowship, 200 Barnswallow Dr. in Elmira, with burial to follow at Floradale Mennonite Church.

Donations may be made in Schuurmans’ memory to the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada. The family has requested donations that support livestock gifts.

The Canadian dairy industry has set up a GoFundMe page in support of the family.

“There will be expenses related to the accident and its aftermath, and lasting impact to their family,” the page says. “We do not know what the amounts of those expenses might be, but want to show our support for the family and allow others to do the same in this small way.” — AGCanada.com Network

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