Holstein Friesian New Zealand general manager Cherilyn Watson has been appointed President of the World Holstein Friesian Federation (WHFF) Council.
Cherilyn Watson, who has been general manager of Holstein Friesian NZ for 17 years, will be the first female president in the Federation’s 45-year history.
The Federation is responsible for improving, promoting and developing the Holstein Friesian breed across the globe.
Holstein Friesian NZ president Hennie Verwaayen says Watson’s appointment as president is recognition of how far the breed society has come in New Zealand and proof that New Zealand was producing some of the best leaders in the field.
“For a little country at the bottom of the world, I think Cherilyn’s appointment shows we can and are footing it with the best in the dairy industry,” says Verwaayen.
Watson says she is honoured to accept the role and is looking forward to working with the WHFF Council and members to lead the Federation through an ever-changing world from the global pandemic to the environmental challenges facing all dairy farmers.
“New Zealand farmers are facing similar issues to dairy farmers around the world, from managing our social licence to operate, to addressing environmental challenges. I’m looking forward to working with the Council and continuing to both facilitate discussion and help address those challenges.”
She says one of the biggest challenges currently facing the New Zealand dairy industry is the development of genomics and the ownership of genomic information for the national herd.
“Overseas the development of genomic testing has already led to more structured breeding decisions about the type of cows farmers both want and need to breed. In New Zealand, we haven’t quite got there yet because there is currently no one industry good source of genomic data.”
Watson takes over from Jos Buiting who will remain as a Federation Council member.