Ag News

McDuffie County canine wins AFBF Farm Dog of the Year

by Jay Stone

Posted on Feb 02, 2024 at 16:38 PM

When it comes to dogs, Georgians have become accustomed to winning on a double scale. At the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in Salt Lake City in January, two Georgia canines wagged away with top prizes in the AFBF Farm Dog of the Year contest.

Skippy, owned by McDuffie County Farm Bureau members Don and Laura Adams, was named the 2024 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year. Casper, owned by Rockdale/DeKalb County Farm Bureau member John Wierwille, won the title of People’s Choice Pup after a social media voting campaign.

Farm Dog of the Year, Skippy

Laura & Donald Adams with Skippy on their McDuffie County farm. / Photo Courtesy of AFBF & Bigfoot Media 

Four-legged friends often play a vital role on family farms and ranches, prompting Farm Bureau to launch the Farm Dog of the Year contest several years ago – now a popular feature of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Convention.

AFBF, with support from Nestlé Purina PetCare, recognized Skippy, three regional runners-up and a People’s Choice Pup on Jan. 21 during its convention closing ceremony.

“It has been a pleasure partnering with Purina for the sixth annual Farm Dog of the Year contest, providing the public a glimpse of daily life on the farm,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Although farmers and ranchers love what they do, it’s well known that farming can be stressful. Farm dogs can help ease the burden, because they often play a dual role as both working dogs and companions to farm families.”

Rounding up livestock and chasing off predators are among the many tasks performed by farm dogs. The contest celebrates farm dogs that work alongside farmers and ranchers as they sustainably produce nutritious food for families and their pets across America.

Skippy is a 4-year-old mixed breed with Border Collie, Australian Shepherd and Catahoula hound in her lineage. She has been with the Adams for about two years. Working livestock – helping move beef cattle where they need to go – is Skippy’s primary role on the farm.

Purina donated prizes for the contest. This included $5,000 in prize money, a trophy plate, a year’s supply of Pro-Plan dog food and other Purina products for Skippy.

“Purina is proud to support the sixth annual Farm Dog of the Year competition with the American Farm Bureau, and we applaud this year’s winner, Skippy,” said Jack Scott, vice president of sustainable sourcing at Nestlé Purina PetCare. “We believe people and pets are better together, and Skippy’s role on the farm along with her bond to Donald perfectly exemplifies what this contest is about.”

Three regional runners-up in the contest each receive $1,000 in prize money, a trophy plate and Purina products.

A panel of judges with expertise in the pet care industry, veterinary medicine and communications reviewed more than 100 nominations to select the 2024 Farm Dog of the Year. Judging criteria included the dog’s helpfulness to the farmer and his/her family, playfulness and their role in making life better on and off the farm. Farm Bureau members submitted written responses to questions, photos and video clips to nominate their dogs for Farm Dog of the Year.

People’s Choice Pup, Casper

Casper, owned by Georgia Farm Bureau member John Wierwille, was named People’s Choice Pup. /Photo courtesy of owner.

More than 100,000 people voted online in the People’s Choice Pup part of the competition.

Casper receives a trophy plate and Purina products. A $1,000 cash prize will be directly donated to Atlanta-based LifeLine Animal Project at Wierwille’s request. LifeLine cared for Casper after he was injured by coyotes while protecting his flock of sheep.

Casper is one of six livestock guard dogs (LGD) that Wierwille uses to protect the sheep he leases out to clients to clean brush and invasive plant species off their property.

Wierwille’s Ewe Can Do It Naturally landscaping business serves clients across Metro Atlanta and cities within three hours of Atlanta. 

Georgia Farm Bureau previously featured Casper in its twice-monthly newsletter, GFB Field Notes. That story can be found at

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