On behalf of all organizations involved in the Canadian dairy cattle improvement industry, Lactanet Canada is pleased to bestow the honour of the 2023 Dairy Cattle Improvement Industry Distinction Award to its very own Brian Van Doormaal, in addition to the previously announced Pierre Laliberté and Dr. David Kelton.
As Lactanet Board Chair, Barbara Paquet states “The Board of Directors unanimously agreed that the timing was perfect to also present this prestigious dairy cattle industry award to Brian for his longstanding career as one of our industry leaders, which started in the province of Quebec.”
Brian Van Doormaal has dedicated his professional career of 37 years involved in the genetic improvement of dairy cattle in Canada. Being born on a family dairy farm in Ontario, Brian received his B.Sc. in Animal Science and M.Sc. in Animal Breeding degrees from the University of Guelph. He then commenced a PhD degree but that career path changed when, in 1986, he accepted an offer from CIAQ in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec as Director of Genetics. During his nine years in this role, Brian was a member of CIAQ’s executive team and grew to manage all elements of the genetic programs for dairy and beef cattle, which also gave him the opportunity to become bilingual.
Most significantly, Brian was the first employee and the only General Manager of Canadian Dairy Network (CDN) for the 24 years between its creation in 1995 and the establishment of the Lactanet Canada partnership in 2019. For two years, from 2010 to 2012, he was also appointed as the Holstein Canada Chief Executive Officer while maintaining his responsibilities as General Manager of CDN.
Under Brian’s management leadership, the CDN Board of Directors and staff transitioned the delivery of dairy cattle genetic evaluations from federal government services to being industry controlled and financed. During the course of time since 1995, many new traits were introduced as well as improvements to existing genetic evaluation methods. The most pivotal of these was the implementation of genomic evaluations in August 2009, making Canada among the first countries in the world to recognize the revolutionary impact that genomics would ultimately have on dairy cattle improvement systems and strategies. More recently, in April 2023, Canada became the first country in the world to offer genetic evaluations aimed at reducing methane emissions, which complements the Feed Efficiency evaluations introduced in 2021. Serving more than 35 years as a member of the Canada’s Genetic Evaluation Board (GEB), Brian has actively contributed to the success of our genetic improvement services for all dairy breeds.
Internationally, Brian has been the Canadian representative on the Interbull Steering Committee for over 25 years, the inaugural Chair since 2016 of the DNA Working Group of the International Committee of Animal Recording (ICAR) and was the 2016 recipient of the ICAR President’s Award. Since 2016, he has also been the industry leader in the development, implementation and delivery of DairyTrace as Canada’s national dairy cattle traceability solution.
Lactanet Canada is the leading dairy herd improvement organization responsible for milk recording, genetic evaluations, herd management software solutions, knowledge transfer and dairy cattle traceability. As a farmer-run organization serving more than 8,000 Canadian dairy producers, Lactanet provides the dairy industry with products and services to help manage their dairy operation for maximum efficiency and profitability.