Congratulations to Andrew and Jennifer Vander Meulen of Avonlea Genetics, winners of the World Jersey Cattle Bureau Certificates of Achievement for 2021. “This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a positive influence on the Jersey breed in their own country through their consistent and long-term efforts.”
Andrew and Jennifer are active leaders in the Canadian Jersey community. They continue to share their knowledge and abilities within the Jersey Community and have done so consistently for many decades.
Jennifer Vander Meulen is tireless in her promotion of the breed both in Canada and worldwide. She has been an active part of the over 300 All-Canadian-nominated Jerseys that they have either bred or shown. She has a long history with the breed and actively promotes Jersey excellence through her involvement on committees at both the provincial and national level. She has been an active member on the National Show Committee, and she is instrumental in establishing and creating opportunities for the Jersey breed to be shown across Ontario. In 2011, Jennifer was a WJCB JETA recipient where she was recognized for her leadership and business excellence. Jennifer brings exceptional marketing skills and is a key part of the success of Avonlea Genetics.
Andrew Vander Meulen has been a strong Jersey promoter for decades. He worked for six and a half years for Jersey Canada as Assistant Executive Secretary and Associate Editor of their Canadian Jersey Breeder magazine. Andrew went on to become involved with the Board of Directors of Jersey Canada and was the President in 2006. He has served on numerous breed and industry committees including a committee that developed Canada’s National Livestock Identification (NLID) program. Andrew has established great relationships with Jersey breeders around the world which have benefitted the breed both within Canada and worldwide. He has supported both national and regional Jersey organizations and continues to actively participate on committees to promote the marketing, genetic improvement and showing of the breed. In 2019 the Curtis Clark Award was given to Andrew for his outstanding success as a breeder and exhibitor.
Andrew is known for his involvement in shows, not only as a breeder but also as a Judge. He has judged national Jersey shows in Canada (Royal Winter Fair), the United States (the All-American and World Dairy Expo), Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, as well as officiating at shows in Australia and countless more across North America. His knowledge and skill are well known in the industry.
The marketing of genetics has always been a vital part of Avonlea’s program, and should be noted for its excellence and impact in promoting the Jersey breed. Avonlea has exported embryos to over 30 countries. They sell many animals privately and in public auction sales each year, and the Avonlea Summer Splash and Showcase sales in Canada and the USA have brought countless new people to the breed. Avonlea has been at the forefront of online sales and marketing, and have managed some of the highest averaging Jersey sales in North America. One of their many achievements has been the “Gone Global” sale in 2020 which included animals from numerous countries and received great attention around the world.
Andrew and Jennifer’s passion, commitment and promotion of Canadian Jersey excellence has been a benefit to the breed in Canada and beyond. They have shared their passion and knowledge with many, and engage their children, Taylor and Will, as the next generation of active breed enthusiasts, influencing many of their domestic young dairy friends and even some international friends regarding the profitability of Jerseys and the excitement surrounding the breed.