World Galloway Congress – Canada, 2012 and USA farm visits – Oct/Nov 2012

Karen and Bob took the opportunity for the third time to represent Suncrest Stud and New Zealand at a World Galloway Congress, this time held in Guelph, Toronto, Canada from 2-6 October.  

The Congress is held every second year, with each member country getting a chance to host the Congress about every 20 years.  The New Zealand delegation this year comprised Barry McAlley, Ray Cursons, and Karen & Bob Curry and the location was very pertinent to New Zealand as it was from Canada that White Galloway semen was first imported into New Zealand to start the nucleus of the first White Galloway herd.

The meeting was particularly interesting this year with the introduction of an open forum session following the normal round of Country Reports. This session was lively and stimulating and was well chaired by Canadian Chairman John Mcllwraith, especially bearing in mind that there is not always international agreement on many of the topics covered. Nevertheless at least they were addressed and the way is set for more open and frank discussions at future Congress. A highlight of the meeting was the presence of Patricia Pruitt, author of ‘The Chronological History of Galloways in North America’ and her extensive knowledge on the subject. She was selling the last few copies of her book, a copy of which was purchased by Bob & Karen, and now treasured.

At the Congress newly elected President Georg Menke, announced on behalf of the BDG German Galloway Society, an invitation to everyone to attend the next World Galloway Conference to be held in Wildeshausen, Central Germany from 2-7 September 2014. It was further announced that the following 2016 Congress would likely be hosted by Scotland.

The meeting was followed by the Congress Dinner and in true Scottish tradition the Haggis was piped in with each delegate holding their country flag on a ice-hockey polo-stick, ski pole or similar.

As is mostly the case at these occasions the informal discussions and on-farm or ranch visits were the most interesting and beneficial part of attending the Programme. The programme included numerous farm visits and attendance at the Erin Fall Fair, which hosts a large cattle show. A number of good friendships were started and old ones rekindled, and many useful contacts were made throughout the programme.

It was certainly good to meet sister Canadian breeders ‘Suncrest Farms’ and Bob & Karen took the opportunity to present the owners Clay & Kathy Salter with their NZ ‘Suncrest White Galloway Cattle’ LED light caps. Suncrest Farms, Ontario have been a big part of the White Galloway breeding scene in North America and they do very well at the shows throughout Canada and the USA.

Suncrest Stud of the Southern Hemisphere meets Suncrest Farms of the Northern Hemisphere – Clay Salter & Bob in both North American hats (left) and Kiwi hats (right).

A huge thanks must go to co-organisers John & Lee Mcllwraith, and Chad & Colleen Card for their wonderful hospitality, and congratulations on the running of such an interesting and successful Congress Programme.

Following the Congress Bob & Karen took the opportunity to visit a number of Galloway breeders in the USA, firstly visiting Uphill Farm near New York who have recently purchased semen from both Suncrest Stud Sires (see August 2012 News article).

Then south to Virginia to stay with Charles & Marilyn Barnes, White breeders, who came to NZ for the 2008 Congress and stayed at Suncrest NZ for a few days after.  They farm ~500 acres in the west of the State and manage another farm in West Virginia; and were an inspiration to Bob & Karen with all their daily activities associated with milking by hand, raising cattle, forestry, client deer-hunting and self-sufficiency that they got up to.  Both in their 70’s, Charles & Marilyn either grow or make just about everything served on the table and lead incredibly active lives, including riding around the forestry tracks and inspecting stock on mountain bikes.  They also have a very catchy email address with the words “IFARMUEAT”.

Then it was on to Dick and Lisa William’s Stonesthrow Farm in South Carolina.  Dick and Lisa also attended the 2008 Congress in NZ and stayed a few days with Bob & Karen afterwards.  They too have a lovely property and specialise in Belted Galloway breeding using AI and embryo transfer to recipient mothers – generally Angus-Hereford crosses, and produce some impressive registrable progeny, which have done very well at the shows, and subsequent sales throughout the USA.

After Dick & Lisa’s Bob & Karen took Jon & Sylvia Bednarski up on their offer at the Congress to stay with them on their farm in Kentucky. Jon is President of the Belted Galloway Society in the USA and runs two farms fattening Bellted Galloway for the meat market, taking the operation right through to table cuts for the customer, and selling the meat in their own store associated with their large storage unit business. Jon also sells log cabins and their house is a grand example of how log construction can be refined into a stunning home in every respect.

Jon accompanied by Sylvia, have undertaken to visit every state in the US and write an article on a selected Belted Galloway breeder in each state. Their articles are published in their Society’s periodical magazine (US Beltie News) and are a wonderful insight into the diversity of breeders and their various farming operations throughout the USA. To date they have visited 20 states and plan to complete their mission during Jon’s term as President.

After chasing music at Nashville, The Grand Ole Oprey, Memphis and Gracelands Bob & Karen visited two White Galloway breeders (Dawson & Debbie Masters & Dawn & Erick Swensson) both near Dallas, Texas and then travelled on up to Debbie & Dean Vance’s DD Ranch near Boulder, Colorado, with the biggest registered White Galloway herd we saw (~30 head). All breeders visited were most welcoming and hospitable! even at short notice, and were keen to show Bob & Karen their stock.

Debbie & Dean have another interest apart from renovating their stately old home – that is wine-making and what a wonderful job of it they do with buying in local grapes and producing exquisite wine on a very small scale, winning many awards at the local amateur wine maker competitions.

The remainder of the trip was more tourist orientated, apart from catching up with relatives in both Canada and the USA. All in all a most interesting and stimulating insight into how other people farm and produce very good cattle on hardly any grass, using plenty of grain and other supplementary feed.

Became tourists in Canada and the USA.