Holstein Northern Ireland’s 19th Annual General Meeting, sponsored by Dairy Herd Management, takes place at the Ballinderry Inn near Moira on Monday 9th April, commencing at 8pm.
Guest speaker at this year’s AGM is Holstein Young Breeders’ Club member and Queen’s University graduate, Andrew Patton from Newtownards, County Down.
Twenty-six-year-old Andrew joined the HYB at a young age and has participated in numerous competitions at local and national level.
Over the years he has aspired to win Holstein UK’s prestigious President’s Medal. This is one of the highest accolades bestowed on HYB members, and only four Northern Ireland HYB members have been awarded the President’s Medal since it was introduced in 1988.
Andrew Patton was runner-up in 2015, and shared the award jointly with fellow HYB member Andrew Patterson from the Crumlin-based Ballyginniff Herd in 2016. Previous winners were Alison Millar in 2003, and Louise Lilburn in 2006.
In the last two years Andrew has embarked on three international trips, all of which were associated with his involvement in the Holstein Young Breeders’ Club.
In March/April 2016 he spent ten days in Argentina at the World Holstein Friesian Federation (WHFF) Conference. This event is held every four years, and Andrew was selected to attend.
At the beginning of 2017 Andrew was chosen as the first-ever member to embark on an HYB exchange trip. He spent five weeks in Australia, living with different families and working on their farms.
“It was a brilliant experience. Not only did I get a chance to work on farms in Victoria, but I had an opportunity to travel and see many of the country’s popular sights. I had spent time helping out at International Dairy Week, working with a calf that sold for a record $251,000 at the WWS Evolution Sale.”
It was during his time in Australia that Andrew found out he was joint winner of the President’s Medal. The prize was a trip to the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto in Canada, sponsored by Semex. Andrew added: “This was another excellent trip which included various herd visits. We crammed a lot into a week!”
Andrew’s presentation will highlight his international travels, and also focus on the management of the family’s noted 340-cow Ards Herd. The autumn and winter calving herd is currently averaging 9,400kgs at 4.00% butterfat and 3.30% protein, with a calving interval of 400 days.
Away from farming and HYB, Andrew is also an active member of Newtownards YFC. He was recently named senior member in County Down, and will take on the role of vice president within the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster later this year.
Holstein NI chairman Tommy Henry said: ”It promises to be an interesting and information presentation. I would urge breeders to come along and support the AGM, and get an insight into the opportunities open to our young members through involvement with the HYB.”