Harry Van Der Linden is from Antigonish, Nova Scotia and now serves as President of Holstein Canada. Thanks to infoHolstein for the following bio:
I immigrated to Canada in 1961 from the Netherlands with my parents and three younger siblings. My father realized his dream to own his own farm when he established the Lindenoord herd in Heatherton, N.S., in 1972. I have three more siblings, who were born in Canada. My youngest brother John is carrying on the Lindenoord pre x today.
My wife, Joanne, was raised on a dairy farm in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. We have four children and one grandchild. Our oldest son Jason is a full farm partner and has been an integral part of Lindenright Holsteins for many years. Scott works in nance in Boston, Daniel is a RCMP of cer in Saskatchewan and Jeanette works for Nova Scotia Animal Breeders.
WHY DID YOU BECOME A HOLSTEIN CANADA MEMBER? I started buying purebred cattle in 1972 within my father’s herd. It was a given that within my father’s herd – and consequently within our own herd – we would strive to breed
the best cattle we could. In order to achieve that goal, we used Holstein Canada’s core services.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A HOLSTEIN CANADA DIRECTOR? Both Joanne and I have served as director, secretary and president
of our local Holstein club. I also served on the Branch executive for many years, as director and then president. Jason is currently the club president and is involved on the Branch executive. Our involvement has very much been a family affair.
In the mid-‘90s, I was invited by Holstein Canada to participate on a committee that looked at the future direction of the organization. Later, I was on the Breed Advisory Committee. The reason why I then opted to serve as a National Director is because I believe strongly in HC and the services, and I felt that I could represent the members of Atlantic Canada. As well, as we work closely with the next generation at our farm, I felt that I could represent and express their ideas and concerns, which can be very different from those of my generation.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR HOLSTEIN CANADA? HC must continue to be relevant and provide economic value to its current and future members through our core services. Our Herdbook software has been modernized. The Classi cation system is the next piece to be upgraded. HC must continue to work closely with
our industry partners to increase the combined services we offer, and to keep costs competitive.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO DURING THE YEAR AS PRESIDENT? I look forward to meeting HC members across the country, visiting their farms and hearing their concerns.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS THE MOST VALUABLE HOLSTEIN CANADA SERVICE? I am a strong supporter of all our services. Classi cation gives the breeder an unbiased opinion of his herd. As a result, there is a wealth of information (benchmark graphs) on each member’s herd through the HC website. This information is currently under-utilized by our members, something the Team is striving to change. As well, genotesting is a very important tool that has worked extremely well at Lindenright.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER TO A YOUNG HOLSTEIN ENTHUSIAST WHO WANTS TO GET INVOLVED ON A HOLSTEIN BOARD? I recommend that young breeders start by participating in local Holstein events. I encourage them to take an active part in their local clubs. Participation grows from there.
ANY OTHER THOUGHTS? Our challenge as an organization is to meet the needs of all of our different members. Across the country we have the large progressive herds, those using genomics as a driving force, herds that have consistently been the backbone of our organization, show herds, etc. Our job as an organization is to meet the needs of this diverse group.