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Archive for Erica Rijneveld


Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

qs[1]There are many facets to the dairy breeding industry that readers of the Bullvine find themselves attracted to.  Whether its milk records, breeding awards or showring victories, there is something for everyone to get passionate about.  Quim Serrabassa, from Spain, was introduced to cattle early in his life and didn`t ever narrow the field.  For him three dairy passions are better than one.

Beginning in Barcelona

Quim and his brother Jaume were raised on the family farm Mas Comas Novas, La Guixa in Barcelona. Their father, Ramon, was a cattle dealer who enjoyed the buying and selling but wasn’t interested in breeding animals.   When the boys were only 12 and 14 they made a decision that would eventually bring them to where they are today says Quim. “In 1984 Jaume and I decided to keep the best cows and breed our own herd.” They give credit to their mom and dad. “From our parents we learned the love of farming, good cows and cow competitions.  This was a tremendous opportunity and we owe a lot to them for allowing us to take this responsibility at such an early age.”

Trying a New Angle

Twenty years later it was time for another new beginning. “In 2004 I started my own company Triangle Holstein.” Quim highlights how the name corresponds to the business. “There are three different business areas: the livestock business, the semen business and the show business.”  For each specialty area Triangle Holsteins provides customized service.  Like other visionary business men he feels that one-sided expectations of yourself and others could hold them back from reaching their individual breeding goals. “We work closely with the farmer to give professional and personal service tailored to their specific needs.” Quim values his early business experiences. “Many years ago, I had the opportunity to work for a big company and it was great.  I always had the goal of forming my own company.” He points out how it has been. “Working for myself gives me a lot of freedom and satisfaction.  I am responsible for my own decisions.  Sometimes good.  Sometimes wrong.” But undoubtedly, he has learned from all sides of the story.

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A Three-Way Perspective

The Triangle Holstein breeding philosophy is one that starts with genetics but is carried out through careful management. “Triangle Holsteins is focused on the best North American cow families and conformation traits are the number one priority.  Nevertheless, I never forget production and health. The management of these key priorities is the key to making an animal be successful.” Quim knows that in cow terms there are three important areas. “Nutrition, exercise and comfort make all the difference.”  These three combined with kindness are what he calls his “silent” partners.  If those are the three main steps to caring for the animals there are also three characteristics that Quim feels all breeders must have in their personality. “This process requires breeders to be  stubborn, patient and enthusiastic all at the same time.”


Pachecas James Gretta
3 time Spanish National Champion

 Three Triangle Love Stories

It isn`t surprising to learn how many animals this Triangle Holstein breeder singles out. “There have been three special animals in  Quim’s life.”  He starts of with one from his youth.Comas Novas Dibbs Inspiration  was our first Champion cow when I was a teenager. She was a white dairy character cow, all quality from the head to the tail.”  The next one stands out for special reasons too. “My second favorite cow is Pachecas James Greta. She was strong, with a big frame and a fantastic udder. Greta was my longest project working with a show cow and she is the one that won many shows in Spain.” The third memory maker for Quim holds a unique space for Quim.” Regiment Apple will always stand out for me.  We came together many years ago, during the first time I was working in Madison for Mike Deaver who is one of the best cow men that I know. At that time Apple was 2 year old.”


Regiment Apple will always stand out for Quim. They came together many years ago, during the first time Quim was working in Madison for Mike Deaver, at that time Apple was 2 year old.”

Three Part Marketing Vision:  Farms, Shows and Facebook

No matter where you are in the global dairy industry, you are marketing your herd with each contact you make, whether it`s face to face, in cyberspace, hard copy or in the show ring.  Quim Serrabassa once again uses a multi-pronged approach. He outlines his methods. “On one hand I go every two weeks to France to select and buy commercial animals for my customers. My customers are breeders like I used to be, so I always feel very responsible for the cows I pick.” Quim never tires of searching out these animals. “I select them one by one, and this is one of the things I like the most. I walk to the field or to the barn with the intention of finding that special one. Sometimes they don’t start out looking that way. I will find one, usually dirty, with no foot trimming, never clipped … but finding her is a magic moment.” He especially likes it when a selection he makes goes on to do well. “Sometimes you can take her to the show ring. Another time you recognize her doing fine in her new home.”

The second point of Quim’s marketing is very much based on shows. “I like going to shows because it is the place where I meet my customers and I can feel the pulse of the market and hear about their needs.” Quim enjoys breeding for show cows. “My favorite sires for show cows are: Absolute-Red, Delta & Atwood.” But he doesn’t over look dairy cow sires. “For dairy cows I use Explode, Cashcoin, Carson and Deman.” His understanding of the show ring has been well developed over the years and he has gained recognition as a cattle judge. “Judging is one accomplishment I am very proud of.  I never expected to have the opportunity to be an Associate Judge in Madison beside Brian Carsacadden and then later in Laussane beside Mike Deaver.”  Both of these judges rank high for Quim. “In my opinion they are the best.”  (Read more: CARSCADDEN: The Royal Footsteps)

Word of mouth has always been a great way for the dairy industry to market itself.  Today dairy friends, peerwebsites and coworkers take that friendly promotion and sharing to new levels. “To keep my customers updated, we use our web site, Facebook and profiles.” says Quim. This enhances the friendships already made in the worldwide industry. “I share my passion for show cows with Roger Turner and Brian Carscadden who have been my mentors in the USA and Canada. Again Mike Deaver has taught me a lot and is a very special person for me.  Early on, one of my greatest influences was Alfonso Ahedo from Semex Spain. He is a great business man with a huge understanding of the Holstein industry.”  It’s all about sharing the passion says Quim. “I keep the passion for shows going with some members of the original farm. As well there is one nice heifer that I bought with friends Erica Rijneveld, Eric Dougoud, and Pat Conroy. (Read more: Erica Rijneveld – Takes Her Show… And Yours…On The Road! and DECRAUSAZ IRON O’KALIBRA: Simply the Best) These are people that love good cows and with whom I share good times too.”

Marketing and Genomics

In today’s marketplace rapidly changing tools are having a tremendous effect.  Quim looks at Genomics and how it has affected his operations. “Genomics has changed the semen market a lot.  For our company it was a great opportunity to start with.  Genomics provides opportunities for everyone.  The market is now global no matter where the bull comes from or who the owner is.”  Of course having the tool and knowing how to use it is the challenge. Quim seeks balance. “Now we have some genomic information that we can combine with cow family and traditional knowledge.  It is the mix and the balance between the new information and the traditional knowledge that will move us forward in the right direction.” If there is a downside to genomics for Quim, it is related to the speed of change. “Today the genetic market moves too fast.  We hardly have time to appreciate and enjoy the cow family as a group.

Work, Work, Work

Quim points out that there is a lot of hard work to make your dairy business. “You have to be satisfied about the things you do every day and try to keep yourself surround by the people that challenge you to grow.” He knows that everything isn’t always perfect. “This is a job that you have to believe in.  Do not expect big things and always enjoy the small details that life gives to you.” As happy as he is with Triangle Holstein, Quim sums up his accomplishments from his own unique angle. “My biggest success is my family.” Very eloquently he points out that this is where he finds his strength. “Especially when show time is over and the bright lights are off.”


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29f3b7f[1]For those outside the agricultural industry, it might be hard to visualize how a passion for dairy cattle could grow into a career that involves international travel. For Erica Rijneveld of Rotterdam Area, Netherlands it is one of the perks of the multi-faceted career that she has chosen and designed to her very own specifications.

Beauty and the Boss

Erica knows the value of setting early and focused career goals. “When I was 14 I started helping on my uncle’s commercial dairy farm.” That early experience inspired her educational choices. “I got really into it when I did my training in Italy at Castelverde Holstein for the Agriculture University at 18. With that foundation Erica risked an important new beginning in 1998, while still at University. “I started my company Livestock Show Equipment for importing show supplies. I wanted to use the products I had used in Italy and, at that time, it was hard to get these items.” Having identified the need and taking action, her future began to unfold.


Currently, Livestock Show Equipmenthas two complementary divisions.  On the one hand, Erica sells show supplies throughout all of Europe and, on the other hand, she serves and inspires her business clients with clipping, showing and taking care of cattle for shows and sales. This enthusiastic, go-getter has a unique approach for aligning her goals and the marketplace.  First of all, when it comes to performance she feels it’s important to have the passion to do things perfectly.  “As hard as that may seem you have to be willing to work exceptionally hard.”  Erica has never waited for the world to change for her. “You have to work on what you need yourself.” She gives an example of how she has taken the less chosen path and learned to accommodate to the workplace and marketplace. There are some who, when facing working in Spain and unable to speak Spanish, while co-workers and customers do not speak English, would choose an obvious solution. “They should learn to speak English.”  But for Erica her reasoning was “If I want to continue working here, I should start to learn Spanish.” The second choice of taking responsibility for change has served her well.

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Erica Falls on the Daring End of the Spectrum

Erica has found and encourages others to see the dairy industry as a classroom. “All the people I have worked with have had an influence on the way I am working now.  From some of them I learned clipping skills.  From others I learned how to pull your show team together and work things out. For my online web-shop, I have learned a lot from knowledgeable in that area.” She sums up her lifetime learning program in two sentences. “Surround yourself with people who know better than you. That is the way you grow yourself.”

There are signposts along the path of every career that mark the twists and turns of the journey and some of Erica`s are particularly memorable. “The Queen of Holland presented me with the Grand Champion Banner at the National Show in 2006.” Her journey picked up speed with “the start of clipping internationally.” As her skills took her worldwide she recalls one turning point in particular. “I remember the first time I was invited to work at World Dairy Expo.”

erica holland

Plane Tickets, High Heels and Rubber Boots

Of course, the logistics of having one woman company that serves clients from around the world means that Erica has added time management to the list of her evolving skills. “I do around 40 shows and sales a year.” Having her own home to recharge from is important to this on-the-fly career woman. “I try to be home 2 days a week to organize the things for the online shop and rest of the time I am travelling around, clipping, teaching etcetera.” Erica constantly seeks to grow herself and her business and is pleased that the biggest change she has experienced is her access to rich variety of people. “It is important to work with knowledgeable people in the business. You learn from them.  Again, I must emphasize that without people around you, you can’t learn and you can’t work.” Erica continuously aims to learn more about her chosen field and fearlessly sets ever higher, ever wider goals to achieve. Having said that, Erica emphasizes that others who would follow this career path must be ready to learn by actually doing the work. “Watch a lot and don’t ask too much! Use your hands to work and brain to think!” With that as a basis, Erica loves to take the responsibility of a team and see that everything from start to finish has the attention and preparation that yield exceptional results.

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Erica Excels From Polished Prepping to Final Placing!

Sometimes it takes a new perspective to see and build on something that we may have overlooked before.  Every fitter that prepares a cow for competition must be able to see both the flaws and the good points of the animal being worked with.  When you think, about it what better training ground could there be for developing skills for judging dairy cattle? Furthermore, if you seriously consider what it takes to be a Show Judge, you can’t underestimate the value of experience on the show ring halter. Erica is fearlessly building reference points from all these perspectives.  Her resume as a judge is growing. In 2011 she judged the National Showmanship and Clipping Finals in France. In March 2012 she judged the clipping section of the International Dairy Youth Championships at UK Dairy Expo. She has also officiated in Denmark, Spain, Slovenia, Germany, Holland and Ireland.

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Erica Sees More Than One Ladder to Success

There is no rest stop on Erica’s career-life journey and she isn’t held back by what would be considered the normal limitations of gender, age, background or any other parameters than those she sets herself. “I hope to continue to grow my show supply sales.” and she enthusiastically looks forward to even more opportunities for showing cattle and judging them as well. Having learned so much from her mentors, Erica is focused on sharing her experiences with others. “I would like to stimulate the younger generation to start clipping and I look forward to helping them and teaching them the skills of clipping, taking care of cows and being good cowmen and women.”

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Erica’s awareness of what is important to her is the formula that has kept her engaged and productive in the dairy business as she fulfils her personal model of success. Way to go Erica and please accept the best wishes of the Bullvine and our readers for continued success on your exciting journey.


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