The Ayrshire Award of Merit is given each year to someone who volunteers their time and effort to the benefit of the Ayrshire Breed. This years winner approached me four years ago with the suggestion of trying to create a new market for the Ayrshire breed in a country where red and white animals are very popular.
Our winner had several ideas of how to go about promoting the Ayrshire breed and since she was familiar with the country headed off “on vacation” with Ayrshire promotional material.The adventure started with a very small Ayrshire table at a new show in Switzerland in a place called Chaud de Fond. She used some of her conections to find a good spot to set up and spent the next few days talking about the Ayrshire breed. She was successful in gaining the medias interest and a few articles on the Ayrshire breed appeared after the show.
The next year the show moved to a new location in Lausanne and our winner has manned the Ayrshire Canada booth there for the past three years. She does farm visits before or after the show and even when she is there on vacation. I have never sent anyone to another country who has worked so hard or who makes me work so hard! Our winner has lots of ideas, wants to try new things every year and has lots of contacts in Switerland to make everything work out. And, she makes it work with the very low budget we give her. We should thank her relatives as well for the plants, tables and transportation of promotional items that find their way into the Ayrshire booth.
The main problem remained semen distribution. At the Royal this year our winner met with Herman DeBoer from Semex who is reponsible for Europe and with his help in Lausanne meetings were held with the company Swiss Genetics who distribute Ayrshire semen. A new system is in place and don’t worry our winner has already checked to be sure that everything is going well.
She would be the first to say that she hasn’t done this alone. Henri Hofer has helped at the show in Lausanne the past two years and they make a great team. But the fact remains that the idea was hers, she is one who recruites her family, friends and motivates the Ayrshire employees.
She may have other breeds in her barn but it is the Ayrshire breed that she has created a new market for.