Delegates participating in Holstein Canada’s National Convention, which took place from April 12-15 in Montreal, enjoyed a sunny road trip to the Valley on April 14 where they toured three of the country’s finest dairy farms, all located in Dundee.
The theme for the convention promised “A legendary experience,” and the farm tours featuring members of the Huntingdon-Ormstown-Beauharnois (HOB) Holstein Club did not disappoint. The first stop was at Ferme Estermann or Rainholm, where delegates were able to see firsthand the herd that has earned the best herd management score in Canada in 2018, 2019, and 2020, as well as the second-best score in 2021. The buses then pulled into the yard at La Releve Holsteins owned by Justin and Benjamin Nieuwenhof, before stopping at the Fermes Soesbergen farm.
“We are three farms that all do things a little bit different, but all have very good results,” says Christopher Soesbergen, who owns the farm with his uncle John and cousins Nickolas and Jenna. He says the recognition from Holstein Canada is nice, and jokes that it gave them an excuse to put some extra heft into their spring-cleaning efforts on the farm.
A fourth farm in the region, the Ferme 236 (Lactomont) in Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, was part of a different tour that included the Ferme Vaudal in Vaudreuil-Dorion and McGill’s Macdonald Campus Farm.
The open-house style visits were also open to local farmers, who took advantage of an opportunity to visit, socialize, and “talk shop” before the big rush to start the season.
Scott Templeton of Howick was also among those enjoying the tour. As a member of the organizing committee for the National Convention, he was especially pleased to highlight the Valley.
As part of the convention, delegates attended in the Quebec Spring Show in Victoriaville on April 13, followed by a visit to the Bell Centre for the Montreal Canadiens final game of the season against legendary rivals, the Boston Bruins. “We had 250 people at the Habs game,” says Templeton, noting there were plenty of Oilers fans, and even a few rooting for the visiting side.
The convention closed on April 15 with the annual meeting and Master Breeders gala, where 20 new farms were awarded the prestigious title.