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World Holstein Conference coming to Canada

PD Editor Karen Lee Published on 15 March 2012

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The World Holstein Conference is an international event held every four years by the World Holstein Friesian Federation (WHFF). The first was held in 1964 in the Netherlands. In 2012, the 13th conference will come to Canada for the first time ever.

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“We are honored and proud to be selected to host the 2012 World Holstein Conference,” says Alain Lajeunesse, manager, market development and communications, Holstein Canada. “We felt the time was right with so many positive things happening in the Canadian dairy industry.”

Centered in Toronto, Ontario, this event is looking to draw dairy industry leaders from around the globe, including presidents and CEOs of sister Holstein breed associations and prominent, progressive Canadian, U.S. and international Holstein breeders.

The conference will be held in early November, but it is not too early to make plans to attend.

Farm tours
“Canada has many things to offer visitors. First and foremost is our Canadian hospitality. Canadian dairy producers are proud of their country, their farms and, of course, their Holstein cattle. Our Holstein breeders are pleased to host farm tours and share information with visitors,” Lajeunesse says.

Attendees can choose from one of six different tours on Nov. 5. The tours feature a variety of dairy farms, as well as stops like the Holstein Canada offices, Gay Lea Dairy Heritage Museum and other sites around Ontario.

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Symposium
The symposium will run for a day and a half on Nov. 6 and 7, featuring international dairy experts speaking on timely, practical topics. Presentations will all be given in English, with simultaneous interpretation provided into French, Spanish, German and Japanese.

The theme “Holsteins Today for a Better Tomorrow” exemplifies how Holstein breeders can be better prepared and build a better future together by sharing knowledge about leading-edge technology and scientific advancements in the Holstein breed, as well as practical applications and implications on-farm.

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The first two sessions of the symposium focus on genomics. Speakers Didier Boichard ( far right ) of France and Josef Pott ( right ) of Germany have provided a preview of their presentations.

Boichard will discuss how quickly genomics is evolving in his presentation, titled “Genomic Developments – Past, Present and Future.”

He says attendees will walk away with an understanding that “new approaches are necessary to increase genomic selection accuracy, to properly account for high marker density or sequencing information, to increase the robustness of genomic selection to lack of relationship between candidates and the reference population and to efficiently share reference populations even across breeds, especially for difficult traits.”

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In “How Genomics is changing the Business and Services of Associations,” Pott will address how genomic selection is causing a great deal of recent change. “Introduction of genomic selection, which is addressed as a revolution in cattle breeding, forces the associations to evaluate this new technology,” Pott says.

“Breeding organizations, including associations, have to take up a position about the chances and the limitations of genomics. All of them, especially those which are running A.I. studs, have to decide how genomic selection has to be included in their breeding program, to what extent young genomic bulls will be recommended for usage on dairy farms and what kind of services around genomics will be offered.”

Pre-conference and post-conference events
“Canada is very large and diverse,” Lajeunesse says. “Visitors are encouraged to sign up for the pre-conference and post-conference programs to see more of our country. There are many different opportunities for both farm and tourism tours.

As well, visitors have the opportunity to see some great Holsteins at the Expo International Show and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.”

Come early and spend some time in Montreal, Quebec, and Ottawa, Ontario. A pre-conference event from Nov. 2-4 offers the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Tour in Quebec, the Quebec International Red & White Holstein Show, Quebec International Black & White Holstein Show, Genomic Power Sale, Montreal City Tour and Sir John A. Macdonald Tour in Ottawa.

Plan to stay a few extra days to enjoy a Niagara Falls tour and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Entertainment
“Canadians love to have fun and this conference will not disappoint. The conference will include several dining and entertaining options, such as the Multi-cultural Social Soir ‘eh’ and a Northern Lights & Winter Nights Gala,” Lajeunesse mentions.

Youth conference
Looking to the future, WHFF has decided to include today’s youth in the conference to provide them with opportunities to gain the necessary experience and skills to be successful leaders of tomorrow. Therefore, the first-ever World Holstein Youth Conference is being offered to young adult Holstein enthusiasts around the world aged 19 to 30.

The youth conference will provide a parallel program to the 2012 World Holstein Conference, introducing future dairy leaders to learning and networking opportunities within the global genetics community. It includes the Sidney Crosby Farm Tour, followed by the symposium, gala and international reception.

Sister Holstein breed associations have been asked to sponsor one or more young adults to attend the 2012 World Holstein Youth Conference. Young Adult delegates will have the option of participating in activities planned as part of the pre-conference and post-conference programs at their own expense.

If you are 19 to 30, a Holstein enthusiast and interested in attending the 2012 World Holstein Youth Conference , contact your national Holstein breed association regarding possible sponsorship and participation. Canadian young adults should contact their provincial Holstein branch regarding sponsorship opportunities.

Interested youth unable to secure sponsorship but interested in participating in the World Holstein Youth Conference at their own cost should contact Stephanie Gregson at

“Our plan is to put on an amazing conference that provides a good balance of education, networking and fun,” Lajeunesse says. “Attendees should come away with knowledge, whether it is the Canadian dairy industry or some new technology coming down the pipe. Another important aspect is the networking opportunities with people having similar interests in the dairy industry. Last, and often most importantly, is entertainment factor.”

Visit http://events.holstein.ca/WHC2012/English/Registration.html to register for this event, as well as the pre-conference and post-conference activities. Act fast as the early-bird discount expires May 1.

For information on registering, or if you have any questions pertaining to the 2012 World Holstein Conference, contact Nicole Faubert and/or Debbie Hibbert at (519) 756-8300 ext. 288 or PD

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