The winner of the 2021 Holstein Friesian New Zealand Black & White Show Trip, Kimberley Simmons, says the association’s successful youth programme has been instrumental in bringing together young people passionate about breeding and showing Holstein Friesian cattle.
“Holstein Friesian NZ Black & White Youth encourages young people to get involved with their breed association and to continue with their passion beyond childhood, going on to breed good stock and show their cattle as adults,” she says.
Kimberley, 17, lives in Southland on 60ha Lowburn and Brydale Studs with Mum Teena, Dad Sandy and brother Jack, 22.
They milk 170 mainly Holstein Friesian cows, but also have Jersey and Milking Shorthorn cattle on farm.
The Year 12 Menzies College student first showed her pet calf at age four, and her passion for showing cattle has only increased since then.
Kimberley attends most shows in Southland and Otago, with the Oxford Show the furthest north she has travelled to show cattle.
This year, Kimberley has entered a number of competitions to vie for any opportunities offered to young people interested in cattle – and her application for the Holstein Friesian NZ Black & White Show Trip was a winner.
Kimberley wowed judges with her application, which included a one-page essay describing her involvement with the Holstein Friesian breed and why she believed she would benefit from being selected for this trip.
The Black & White Youth Show Trip is offered annually to a Black & White Youth member between the ages of 14 and 17 to attend either the Holstein Friesian South Island Championships, or the Holstein Friesian North Island Championships.
This year, Kimberley attended the South Island Championships at the Ellesmere A&P Show, Canterbury held on October 16.
Holstein Friesian NZ organised Kimberley’s return travel and billeted her with local Holstein Friesian NZ members the Wakelin family, of Belbrook Farming Ltd.
Kimberley spent three days with the Wakelins, helping them prepare cattle for the show. She washed and helped clip cows and heifers in the lead-up to the show, and at the show itself kept the animals clean throughout the day.
Robbie Wakelin says his family were very impressed with Kimberley throughout her stay.
“She was a tremendous help and was a well-deserved recipient of the trip,” he says. “She really got stuck in and did a good job.”
A particular highlight of the show for Kimberley was when she led the Wakelin’s Jersey heifer, Belbrook Choice Lulu, when she took out the title of South Island Junior Champion Jersey. Kimberley also lead Lulu in the Handling section, which she won.
“Lulu was a good leader!” she says.
“Attending the show was awesome. I got to meet lots of new people and talk about all things cows, and it was cool seeing cattle of a high standard compete.”
Kimberley encourages other Black & White Youth members to apply for the opportunities offered by Holstein Friesian NZ, particularly if they have limited experience in attending shows.
“It’s a great introduction to the showing circuit, and a good opportunity for a ‘newbie’ to meet people with similar interests,” she says.
Despite her continued love for showing, Kimberley’s interests are expanding as she gets older, with Black & White Youth supporting her along the way.
“I loved the pet calf and handling aspects of showing when I was younger, but I’m now becoming more interested in breeding cattle; I enjoy helping Mum pick sires for our cows to select the traits we need in our herd,” she says.
“Youth programmes such as Holstein Friesian NZ Black & White Youth keep breed associations alive.”
Holstein Friesian NZ Black & White Youth is an initiative to encourage youth aged 21 years and under to become members of the Association.
Members are able to enter competitions, apply for exchange opportunities, attend youth camps, enter Black & White Youth showmanship classes at local shows and are eligible to receive youth awards.
Black & White Youth members are also able to record animals on the national database, establish their own herd prefix and register an unlimited number of animals in the Herd Book until 21 years of age.
To become a member of Holstein Friesian NZ Black & White Youth, click here.