In the last 29 years Pauline Duivenvoorden and Phil MacLean have only missed one year of the Humber Valley Agricultural Fall Fair.
The Deer Lake couple, owners of Headline Holsteins Ltd. on Goose Arm Road, have entered 14 of their dairy cows and calves in this year’s fair taking place at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex today and Saturday.
When Duivenvoorden first came to Newfoundland around 1986 she said there was no livestock exhibition related to the fall fair, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Duivenvoorden was working as a veterinarian with the provincial agriculture department at the time and along with a co-worker Brian Bishop undertook exploring the possibility of re-energizing the livestock portion of the fair.
“We felt that the livestock industry is very important to the Humber Valley and we wanted to re-connect the general public with where their food comes from,” she said.
They also wanted to show people that producers are concerned for and care for their livestock.
The livestock exhibition restarted in 1989 and Duivenvoorden had started her farm by then.
“I enjoy seeing things prosper,” she said. “I enjoy seeing things from birth to end of productive life.”
She also likes providing food for the local community.
And she’s glad that the livestock part of the fall fair has continued to thrive.
“I think there are few opportunities for the general public and consumers to connect with our farming community,” said Duivenvoorden. “So, when there are opportunities for parents and their children and people of all ages really to interact with farmers, I think that both sides benefit greatly.”
Besides participating in the fall fair, Duivenvoorden and MacLean also open their farm to the public on Open Farm Day and will host school tours.
As for participation in livestock show, she said over the years they’ve had cows at the top and at the bottom.
She said that just shows there are good cows right across the island.
“We try to bring our cows well trained and well presented, and some of the best cows we think we have in the herd.”
And it’s not all about winning for them.
“Sure, it’s fun to win a ribbon, but it’s more fun to interact with the public.”