1. Tell us about your dairy.
We are located in the most Northwest part of Western Washington, less than a mile from the Canadian border. Up until March of 2020, we milked about 500 Holstein and Jersey cows. We sold our cows and continue to raise our heifers and crops.
2. How long have you been a member-owner of All West/Select Sires?
I have been in a partnership with TJ Veenacre farm for about 23 years, as customers of All West.
3. Why did you choose to serve in a leadership role for this cooperative?
I have a passion for cows and farming. Having All West/Select Sires as a company that is passionate about genetics and bringing the best products and service to the farmers made me want to learn more about the company from a more inside perspective. It’s been a great learning experience for me, as well as a way to contribute to the bright future of All West/Select Sires.
4. What is your breeding philosophy?
We have always tried to breed for good, functional cows with high production and good components, capacity, udders, feet and legs. With the new technology that has become available, we started using the health traits more, as well. Also, beef-on-dairy semen and sexed semen have been additional tools for faster progress to better genetics in our herd.
5. Who is your all-time favorite Select Sires bull, past or present?
I remember my dad talking about Round Oak Elevation when I was a kid back in the Netherlands. When I moved to the United States, I saw what the bull had done for the Holstein breed and for All West/Select Sires as one of the most impactful sires of in the breed.
I remember when TJ Veenacre Farms started using Walkway Chief Mark. He was another legend who delivered tremendous capacity with tons of milk.
In the past five to ten years, two of my most favorite sires were 7HO13314 MOGUL and 7HO11351 SUPERSIRE.
6. How do you benefit from doing business with this cooperative?
I benefit by getting to use the top bulls and best service. As a farm, we have benefited so much from this company over the years. Foremost, the people that make All West/Select Sires and the connections and friendships that have been built over the years are special. I have enjoyed those relationships while serving on the board, too.
The passion and dedication that the people have is contagious and great to be part of. The salespeople that came to the farm for many years, like Ray Reuble and Ken Haak, always wanted to talk and see the cows. Maynard Axelson, another passionate cow man, did the mating here for many years. Now, we have the next generation of younger guys coming to the farm like Kelby Stadt and he brings his love for cows and genetics to a whole new level for us farmers to benefit from. Of course, the patronage checks are also a benefit of being a member of this great cooperative.
7. What is your favorite memory in your experience with All West/Select Sires?
My favorite memory is probably the time when some of the All West employees were recognized for 30 and 40 years of employment at our annual meeting. That tells me something about the dedication of this team! It’s also neat when multiple generations of board members, like Marvin and Mark Van Mersbergen for example, get recognized for their many years of service on the All West/Select Sires Board of Directors. These events gave me a glimpse of the legacy of All West/Select Sires continuing and how new generations of ordinary, but passionate people are willing to serve on All West/Select Sires leadership team. They will help direct the cooperative to ensure a bright future. It’s the people that make this coop what it is!