The International Red Dairy Breeds Federation (IRDBF) exists as a collective group for the red dairy cattle breeds of the world to unite in purpose and intent.
Purposes of the federation:
To facilitate opportunities for breeders, industry stakeholders and enthusiasts of red dairy cattle to build networks and share information.
To develop common vision among individual red dairy breeds, while recognising variations due to national dynamics.
To foster improvement and promotion of all red dairy cattle for the purpose of economic, commercial milk production.
To network with the broader dairy industry to maximise cooperation and enhance growth opportunities for red dairy cattle.
To encourage the adoption of new selection technologies as they become available.
Introducing the Board Members of the IRDBF
Board Member and President is Christina Paulsen-Schlueter of Germany, who has had red dairy cattle as one of her highest interests from a very young age. Christina has held leadership roles in a number of dairy related organisations and says "the spirit which unites all the different red breeders and their associations in this international body IRDBF IS a spirit of cooperation in order to strengthen the individual breed as much as the group".
Board Member and Vice President is Graeme Hamilton of Australia. Graeme was determined to be a dairy farmer since early childhood, following in the family footsteps. Graeme first became enthralled by red dairy cows in his teenage years, and that eager interest has never waned. Graeme has an enduring belief that greater collaboration between the various red dairy breeds is necessary, and will lead to growth opportunities for breeders. For the red breeds to prosper, individual breeders must see tangible rewards for their breeding endeavours. It is the task of the IRDBF to foster this improved cooperation.
Our next Board member is Tanel Bulitko of Estonia. Tanel has been keen on bovines since early childhood, and by the age of 6yo was herding cows for collective farms. By 12yo he presented cows in the national show dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Estonian Herd Book.
Tanel's extensive education includes studies in animal husbandry at the Estonian Agricultural University, Univeristy of Arkansas, University of California, and the Hungarian Agricultural Academy.
Tanel has worked for 24 years with Animal Breeders Association of Estonia, and its earlier entities. By 1998 Tanel was Manager of the Breeding Department, and later became Chairman of the Board in 2000 of what is the largest cattle breeding organisation of the Baltic countries.
Tanel has been honoured with commendation from the Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs, and nominated for innovation awards.
Tanel values highly the principles of farmers and values their everyday lives. Most importantly, this esteem is reciprocated by the farmers due to his dedication to Estonian cattle breeding, which currently ranks second in the EU member states in average milk production per cow.
Morten Hansen of Denmark was elected to the Board in 2019. He Chairman of the Viking Red Breed Committee, and is himself a dairy breeder with 270 cows. He gained a PhD in animal breeding in 2003, and took over the family farm in 2004. Morten conducts a very active breeding programme in his herd with 15-20 embryo transfers each year. Viking Red bulls such VR Fenton, VR Hielke and VR Faber have come from his herd.
Russell Tocker of New Zealand is a new young face to the Board from 2019. He lives on the north island of New Zealand at Tiakitahuna and runs a family farm with his brother Zac and their parents. They milk about 700 cows with about 140 being red dairy cattle.
Russell and his partner Sarah have two young children, and enjoy raising them on the property so they can share family time.
Russell's hobbies are bush walking and playing rugby. He is also on the Board of New Zealand Milking Shorthorn Society.