Big change in Holstein UK as NI-born president ends term and new CEO appointed

Holstein UK has announced Welshman Bryan Thomas will replace Co. Antrim dairy breeder David Perry as the organisation’s next president.

It comes as the organisation – which is the largest independent breed society in Europe – also appoints its new chief executive officer, Sue Cope.

Perry begun his term as president at the organisation’s 2017 AGM and is set to complete his year-long term in June.

Northern Ireland’s third Holstein UK president

The Ahoghill man has been the third Northern Ireland man to take the helm of Holstein UK, with Wilbert Rankin and Sam Wilson also previously holding the position.

Perry was first elected to Northern Ireland Holstein Friesian Breeders’ Club committee in 1994.

He became vice president in 1998, and a year later was became the first chairman of the then newly-formed Holstein NI Club.

He and his brother Austin milked Dairy Shorthorns before establishing a Holstein Friesian Herd in 1984. Today the pair are best known for their herd – Killane Holsteins – and received Master Breeder status in 2008.

Killane went on to win best small herd, premier section, in Holstein NI’s herd inspection competition in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

However, the milking portion of the herd and selected youngstock were sold in 2015 in a dispersal sale to allow for retirement.

New president elect

The board of trustees have selected Welsh dairy breeder Bryan Thomas to stand as president elect at the forthcoming AGM in June.

Thomas farms in partnership with his son Gareth in Carmarthenshire with their herd, Gelliddu Holsteins.

The 250-strong milking herd and 240 followers include 85 ‘Excellent’ classified cows; 126 VG (Very Good) and 24 GP (Good Plus). Over the past 24 months, more than 100 two-year-olds have been classified VG.

The herd has achieved international status with animals sold for export, and bulls sold to AI companies; it has also won numerous shows and awards. In 2009, Thomas was awarded the ‘Master Breeder Shield’ from Holstein UK.

New chief executive

The society’s new chief executive, Sue Cope has been promoted from managing director of the Cattle Information Service (CIS) to chief executive for the Holstein UK group of companies.

The group includes: Holstein UK; CIS; and the National Bovine Data Centre (NBDC).

Having worked for the group for over 20 years, Cope has a wealth of experience and an in-depth understanding of how each business operates.

Brought up on a dairy farm in the midlands, her knowledge of the dairy sector and her industry links will be invaluable in driving the group forward.

Andrew Birkle, Holstein UK chairman, said: “We are delighted to appoint Sue Cope as chief executive for the Holstein UK Group. The appointment places the group in a very strong position to take the business forward.

“The appointment now brings stability to the business to focus and deliver the group strategy.”