Markus Hehli of Mosnang Holsteins & Jerseys, Rimbey, Alberta, was named the 2023 Curtis Clark Achievement Award winner on November 10th at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON. Hehli is the 35th recipient of this national award which was established in 1988 by the Alberta Holstein Association to honour the late Curtis Clark of Acme Holsteins, a respected Alberta Holstein breeder, cowman and showman.
Markus Hehli, 41, is a selfless, hard working, personable young Holstein and Jersey breeder “dedicated to all things cows”. A “sponge for information”, Markus has taken the knowledge he has learned from his fellow Western Canada breeders and peers to do things right and make them better. His parents, Heini and Ruth Hehli, established Mosnang Holsteins in 1980 after emigrating from Switzerland. Today, Markus and his wife Amanda, along with their four children, Wyatt, 11, Adair, 10, and twins, Sawyer and Georgia, 7, are partners in the Mosnang farm corporation with Markus’s parents. They milk 110 Holsteins and 10 Jerseys in a herd which includes 10 Multiple Excellent, 12 Excellent, 75 Very Good and 29 Good Plus cows.
Hehli began showing cattle when was 10 years old. While in 4-H, he was Grand Champion Showman at the 2003 Western Canadian Classic (WCC), and then in 2007 was selected by Holstein Canada and Semex to represent this country in the Canada/Australia-New Zealand Young Adult Exchange Program. Hehli started clipping and fitting cattle at shows and sales in Alberta as a young teenager. He would go on to travel throughout North America, as well as Australia and Switzerland, helping to prepare cattle. He has worked as a fitter for such well- known Western Canada showstrings as Stanhope-Wedgwood, Morsan and Westcoast Holsteins,
as well as clipped cattle at many sales including the RockyMountain High Sales series.
Hehli was just 15 when he took his family’s first showstring all by himself to Olds Fair. He has been exhibiting Mosnang cattle ever since at major shows across Western Canada, as well as the Royal Winter Fair and World Dairy Expo. It is not unusual to see him with up to 30 animals in his showstring at Westerner Dairy Showcase in Red Deer, AB, where he is often assisted by 4-H members eager to help and learn from him. Every year he supplies animals to many 4-H members looking for a project calf to show and in 2022 lost three of his best heifers in that tragic cattle liner accident following WCC in Manitoba.
Mosnang Holsteins has been Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor five times at Alberta Dairy Congress, twice at Westerner Dairy Showcase, and once at Calgary Dairy Classic Championship Show. At the 2022 National Holstein Show at the Royal, Mosnang was runner-up for Overall Premier Breeder. An early homebred show favourite was Mosnang Deman Cheddar (VG-89) who was Intermediate Champion at BC Spring Show and Reserve Grand Champion at Calgary Dairy Classic in 2018. The “L Cow Family”, which has deep roots at Mosnang dating back to 1985, has, however, been the source of Hehli’s greatest Holstein show achievements. Mosnang Lightning Bolt (EX-92-2E-6*) was one of the farm’s first cows to win a class at a major show when she was first 4-year-old at Alberta Dairy Congress in 2012. Her daughter, Mosnang Saloon Liquor (EX-94-
2E), was Grand Champion at Alberta Dairy Congress and a member of Mosnang’s first nominated All-Canadian Breeder’s Herd in 2018 in a career that saw her claim two All-Western titles. During the shortened 2020 show season due to Covid-19, Liquor’s granddaughter, Mosnang Solomon Liquify (EX-95-2E), a fifth generation homebred Excellent, was Grand Champion at Westerner Dairy Showcase and Reserve Canadian Champion Junior 3-Year-Old. In the months that followed, Liquify, and several members of her family, were purchased by Westcoast Holsteins, Chilliwack, BC. Under the Westcoast banner in 2022, Liquify became Reserve All-Canadian and Honourable Mention All-American 5-Year-Old, while her daughter, Mosnang Unix Lipstick (VG-89-2YR), was All-Canadian and Reserve All-American Junior 3-Year-Old after winning her class at the Royal and finishing second at World Dairy Expo, and another daughter, Mosnang Bridgestone Live Wire (VG-87-2YR), was nominated for All-Canadian Milking
Yearling. Liquify, Lipstick and Live Wire combined to take second place in the coveted Breeder’s Herd class at the Royal in 2022 for Mosnang Holsteins and later were acclaimed Reserve All-Canadian Breeder’s Herd.
Hehli acquired his first Jersey, Bramville Golden Boy Zippy (EX-93-2E), as a yearling heifer in 2007. She won many top show ribbons for him including Grand Champion at Western Canadian Livestock Expo in Saskatoon, SK, in 2011. While small in numbers, the Mosnang Jersey herd has enjoyed great success too at the shows with Batesdale Topkea Jade Of Fun (EX-90-2E) being Grand Champion at this year’s Westerner Dairy Showcase. In 2022, Markus and Amanda were
presented Jersey Canada’s Young Achiever Award.
Hehli is an Official Judge and has judged shows in Canada, the United States, Brazil and Mexico. He served on Holstein Canada’s Show & Judging Committee from 2013-19. He is a member of the Westerner Dairy Showcase Dairy Cattle Committee and is treasurer of his local Central Alberta Holstein Club. For several years, he managed the Central Alberta Holstein Club’s Showcase Sale that was held at Westerner Dairy Showcase. Mosnang Holsteins has been Alberta Holstein Breeder of the Year three times.
A quiet gentleman with a passion for cows, Markus Hehli is humbled to receive the Clark Award and to be following in the footsteps of those Western Canada exhibitors who started from the grassroots, loved their cows, and travelled thousands of miles to exhibit animals at shows across the West and to the Royal.
The Curtis Clark Achievement Award is presented at the Royal to a Canadian dairy cattle exhibitor respected for his ability, sportsmanship and dedication. The winner is chosen by former recipients of the award. Along with having his name engraved on the distinctive Clark trophy that bears a bronzed version of Curtis Clark’s hat, Markus Hehli received a gold belt buckle as a personal keepsake of this honour.
For more information, contact Bonnie Cooper, Secretary, Curtis Clark Achievement Award Committee, 904 – 12 Rockford Road, North York, ON M2R 3A2; cell: 416-579-6572; home: 416-663-8515; e-mail: [email protected].