Simcoe County farm earns ‘Master Breeder’ status

March 1, 2017   ·   0 Comments

John and Bonnie den Haan of Haanview Farms in Loretto and their 60 purebred Holsteins.
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By Wendy Gabrek
John and Bonnie den Haan, of Haanview Farms in Loretto, have been named a 2016 Master Breeder – the most coveted Holstein Canada award. The den Haans now join the ranks of the most elite breeders across Canada.
The farm was started by John’s father AM and Maartje den Haan after immigrating to Canada from Holland. They purchased their first cow in 1953, Rosehill Echo Maggie. Today, over 50 per cent of the Haanview herd is made up of her decedents. John and Bonnie have been farming together for 35 years and working towards this legacy.
“I received the call during chore time. We knew it was a possibility this year but it all became a reality when I saw Holstein Canada on the call display,” John den Haan said about the great news.
The Master Breeder is earned through a complex assessment, which includes data from regular recording from each cow and classification of each cow’s conformation. Each cow is measured using a point system and designated on a scale from Fair to Excellent with graduations in between.
“We are passionate about our farm and our cows. Animal health and welfare has always been paramount for our farm and winning this award just pushes us forward to continue to do our best,” Bonnie den Haan said about earning master breeder status.
Today, Bonnie and John farm with their daughters Marianne and Emily den Haan while also crafting whole milk products at their on-farm dairy, Sheldon Creek Dairy.
Twenty Holstein herds from across Canada earned master breeder designations for 2016.
All will be honoured at the 2017 National Holstein Convention Master Breeder Banquet in York Region.
The Master Breeder program has been in place since 1929. Only 1,007 Master Breeder shields have been awarded in the awards 87-year existence.
“These ‘Master’ breeders are recognized for having mastered the art of breeding balanced cattle – high production and outstanding conformation with great reproduction, health and longevity,” reads a Holstein Canada news release.

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