Holstein Canada Nearly 500 Holstein enthusiasts joined many local members in Alberta as Holstein Canada's National Holstein Convention and 133rd Annual General Meeting was held April 19-23, 2016 in Calgary, Edmonton and Banff. The volunteer organizing committee, under the chairmanship of Glenn Hockley, did a fantastic job of ensuring the convention lived up to the "Just Majestic" event they had promised which included a number of new innovations and historic milestones.

Farm Tours, Sale, Show & Festivities
It was a week full of incredible Western hospitality. Convention participants were welcomed by more than 18 different Holstein families who opened their barn doors for farm tour day to showcase their fantastic herds and operations. Along with seeing well managed operations, tour participants were impressed by the blue skies, large fields and discovering the important contribution Hutterite colonies make to the Western industry.

The 2016 National Holstein Sale drew large crowds and averaged $5,433 on 102 lots. Topping the sale was Lot #15, Westcoast Spring Gafney 3701 – a December 2015 heifer calf that sold for $50,000. The 2016 Calgary Stampede National Holstein Show was a great success with 230 head being placed by Judge Gerald Coughlin of Ontario. Winning the inaugural and historic Genomic Championship was Barclay Doorman Cobra owned by Hamming Holsteins Ltd. of Vernon, B.C. At the end of the show, it was the winning 4-Yr-Old, Wendon Dempsey Prude, who captured the attention of Judge Coughlin and was crowned Grand Champion of the show for owners Westcoast Holsteins of British Columbia. Taking Grand Champion honours in the RW portion of the Show was Westliberty Absolute Satin, the second placed 5-Year-Old. Both Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor were awarded to Wendon Holsteins of Red Deer, Alta.

Throughout the week, convention participants were treated to a wide variety of Western inspired events, socializing, food and entertainment.

Annual General Meeting
The 133rd Holstein Canada Annual General Meeting (AGM) was well-attended with close to 400 people in attendance in Banff, Alta. The Convention's official Twitter hashtag #justmajestic was used to share information and updates on social media channels for members not able to make trip to Banff.

The following are highlights from reports given at the 2016 AGM:

  • Outgoing President John Buckley of Lindsay, Ontario reviewed the main activities of a busy and positive year, during which members were top priority. Youth, close links with DFC, technology and international promotion were other main projects during President John's mandate. John added he felt Canadian Holsteins have never been better and this is due to outstanding producer management skills, great sires, our genetic evaluation system, genomics and Holstein Canada's core services being so well used by members coast to coast.

  • Chairman of the Board Robert Chabot reviewed the many Board decisions and activities in 2015-2016, which were fed by 11 busy committees. Highlights included support of Pro$, a revamped LPI, hosting the Conference of the Americas and meetings which brought Board and members together.

  • CEO Ann Louise Carson presented the administrative report outlining top business highlights from 2015 which saw registration levels being just shy of record levels, while number of cows classified remained stable. Ann Louise added the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan was being followed very closely. Having just returned from the World Holstein Conference which brought together people from 35 countries, Ann Louise concluded by stating that Canadian members need to appreciate, defend and even be humbled by the benefits of Supply Management, as Canada was the envy of all countries. To this end, Ann Louise was proud to discuss the reasons Holstein Canada was glad to work with DFC on the animal care pillar of proAction – one more tangible example of Partner Collaboration. She thanked Industry and members for their support during the recent transition to new Herdbook software.

  • Finance Committee Chair Orville Schmidt reported Holstein Canada reported a net excess of revenues over expenses of $97,013 on operating revenue of $11.6 million, with the Reserve fund also remaining strong.

  • Nine resolutions were presented to the membership for consideration with eight being passed. They touch the areas of Awards, Shows, Genetic traits and Youth.

  • One of the many additions to this year's Convention was a preview of the Classification updates, by Committee Chair Gerald Schipper which will come into effect in June. These changes impact crampiness, feet & legs, rump, chest width and maximum final score for 1st lactation animals. See the May-June issue of the InfoHolstein for full details.

  • Breed Advisory Committee member Gilles Côté gave an update on Year two of the Canadian Breed Strategy Vision 2020, which touches all areas of the industry.

  • In another "first", DFC President Wally Smith addressed the crowd. He thanked Holstein Canada for the close collaboration, especially in proAction, due to the clear synergy between our two national associations. Wally took the opportunity to remind Holstein members of the strength and importance of solidarity among provinces for the future of Supply Management.

Those in attendance celebrated the Century of Holstein award presentations made to three families recognized for 100 years of continuous membership with Holstein Canada: the Webb family, Roseneath, Ont.; the Smith Family, Port Perry, Ont.; and the Brown family, Fenwick, Ont. Two distinguished certificates were also presented at this year's meeting. Norm and Marj Atkins of Leduc, Alta. were presented with a Certificate of Superior Accomplishment, while Bruce Witmer of Cambridge, Ont. received a Certificate of Recognition. Association Education awards were also recognized by the participants.

Guest Speaker Sid Marty was very well-received by those in attendance. Marty's presentation on "National Parks" captured the audience as he told stories about the origin of Alberta's first park, the discovery of hot springs, George Busby and the Grizzly bear "The Boss" and other humourous events that have happened in the park over the years.

2015 Cow of the Year Announced
Earning the 2015 title of Cow of the Year was Val-Bisson Goldwyn Maya. Bred and owned by Ferme Val-Bisson Inc. of St Polycarpe, QC. Owners Elyse Gendron and Jean Bissonnette were on-hand to accept the award.

Robert Chabot Elected New President for 2016-2017
Following the AGM, the Holstein Canada Board of Directors elected Robert Chabot of Saint-Patrice, Que. (BELFAST & GEN-I-BEQ) as the 2016-2017 Holstein Canada President. Robert will be supported by 1st Vice- President, Orville Schmidt of Rollyview, Alta. (SOUTHRISE) with Harry Van der Linden of Antigonish, N.S. (LINDENRIGHT) selected to fill the 2nd Vice-President position.

Master Breeders Celebrated
To conclude a fantastic week in Alberta, a wonderful, energy-filled and Northern Lights-inspired evening was held to celebrate and honour the achievements of the 21 Master Breeders. To celebrate the fact that the 1000th shield was awarded, breed historian Doug Blair gave a much appreciated recap of the road travelled since the first plaque was awarded in 1929.

Congratulations again to the 21 families and individuals who received their Master Breeder shield in 2015! In addition to surpassing 1,000 shields awarded, this year's historic crop of winners also included the first fourth-time shield recipient (HIGH POINT) and the first syndicate group winner (GEN-I-BEQ).

2017 Convention plans already underway!
Hank Sinatra and the Udder4 serenaded the crowd singing "Moo York" as the 2017 Convention committee made their official invitation for Holstein enthusiasts to "Experience the City Lights" at the 2017 National Holstein Convention, which will be held from April 4-8, 2017 in Markham, Ont. Look forward to seeing more details as the final 2017 Convention schedule is set and website is launched in the fall of 2016!

2015 Annual Report Available to all Members
For those Holstein Canada members interested in receiving a FREE copy of the 2015 Annual Report, please contact Jennifer Kyle at jkyle@holstein.ca or by calling 1-855-756-8300 ext. 234. Alternatively, the Annual Report can be found online on Holstein Canada's website by clicking the following link or visiting www.holstein.ca ? News & Events ? Annual Report.

To read more about the fantastic time experienced by all at the 2016 National Holstein Convention, look forward to reading more in the July-August issue of InfoHolstein!

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