A cross-country dairy tour has ended in tragedy for an Elmira couple.

Bettina and Henk Shuurmans were driving their John Deere tractor on a promotional tour of the dairy industry when their tractor collided with a transport truck.

The couple had just departed Saskatoon on Monday morning and was travelling to their next stop in Edmonton when the crash happened.

Bettina Schuurmans, 55, died as a result of the collision and her husband, 55-year-old Henk Schuurmans, was transported to hospital in critical but stable condition.

The driver of the transported truck was uninjured.

The couple departed their farm in Elmira on June 23 and their final destination was supposed to be British Columbia. The goal of the trek was to show consumers that dairy farmers are families too.

“They wanted to share with Canadians the importance of dairy farming in Canada,” says Laurel Adams with the Dairy Farmers of Ontario. “It wasn’t just the supply management system and economics but there are real people in Canada who are dairy farmers.”

Over the course of the tour the pair would meet up with farmers and stay over at their farms along the way.

“They were doing something that was so good ... and that the whole community was behind,” says family friend Wendell Schumm. “I think it just makes it that much tougher.”

The Schuurmans have longtime farming roots in Waterloo Region with the duo running a dairy farm, Milky Wave Inc., in Elmira.

“Being a farm family was very rewarding,” says Schumm.  “It was something that they really believed in and wanted to make sure that other people got to see that.”

Schumm says Bettina will be remembered as someone who liked to have fun and as a hard worker who dedicated her life to her passion.

He says the family is asking for privacy during this time but they appreciate the thoughts and kind words from those reaching out in the community.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is still investigating the cause of the collision and information regarding any charges has not been released.