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.

er and friends

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.”

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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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