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PAUL EKSTEIN – 2013 Recipient of the Prestigious McKown Master Breeder Award

PaulCongratulations to Paul Ekstein of Quality Holsteins, Vaughan, Ontario for being selected by the Klussendorf Association as the fifth Robert `Whitey`McKown Master Breeder Award winner!

“This award recognizes a well-managed breeder herd that has been successful at showing and judging and emphasizes all qualities of the Klussendorf Award, including ability, character, endeavor and sportsmanship.”

Paul Ekstein has earned his place alongside these masters of dairy cattle breeding. Paul has bred 200 Excellents: 163 females and 37 males. He has received three Holstein Canada Master Breeder awards. Quality Holsteins has been honored with the title of All-Canadian Breeder’s Herd eight times in the last 23 years. Paul’s Quality Holsteins exhibit has earned Premier Breeder at the Royal Winter Fair four times. (Read more: Quality Holsteins – Well-deserved Congratulations and Quality Cattle Look Good Every Day)

Through his multi-faceted dairy breeding career, Paul has embodied the passion and originality that it takes to be exceptional in this business.

Paul and his son, Ari.

Paul and his son, Ari.

Ari Ekstein, Paul’s son, is proud of his father. “There is no doubt in my mind that he is a deserving recipient of this award.  There are very few men in this business that have the passion to breed great cows like my dad.  His desire and work ethic have been incredible and it shows through the “Quality” cows that have gone through our barn in the last 30 years.” Don and Linda Schwartz who have worked with Paul throughout those years confirm. “There is no one who has bred and developed cow families like Paul has. This award ideally suits what he has accomplished in his career that spans almost 60 years.”  Family, friends and peers agree on what makes Ekstein unique. “Every day is spent on how he can develop the herd even further to his own standards.” Paul has shown that with hard work and dedication anything is possible. He truly understands the Holstein dairy cow.  Ari has learned much about breeding success from his father. “The biggest lesson he has taught me is to never give up on any animal, if you believe in the cow family and its potential.”

Paul Ekstein will be presented with the McKown Master Breeder Award during the Calf Classes at World Dairy Expo.  He joins an exceptional list of recipients.

  • 2009 Jim Burdette
  • 2010 Bernetta Gable
  • 2011 Vernice and Dan Moon
  • 2012 Jason and Donna Myers

The Robert “Whitey” McKown Memorial Breeder Award was made possible by the family and friends of the 1997 Honorary Klussendorf honoree. Whitey joined the Holstein World staff in 1956 and became widely respected as he traveled nationally and internationally, reporting on shows, sales, meetings and other Holstein events. The 1987 National Dairy Shrine president also developed MooKown Holsteins in Belleville, N.Y. Whitey had great admiration for the farmer breeder.

Paul and wife Nili

Paul and wife Nili

There are a number of milestones that have contributed to the breeding success that qualifies Paul Ekstein for this award. Son Ari points out two that are at the top of that list. “Number one, the most special, was his induction into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. Then, secondly, winning the Supreme Grand Champion at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair two years in a row.”  All agree that there is now another highlight as Don Schwartz says. “The McKown Award suits what Paul’s whole life has been about.” (Read more: DON SCHWARTZ: “Love what you do and do the best you can!”)

The Quality story began in 1980 founded upon all of Paul’s hard work with his company Quality Seeds. Currently the Quality Herd, situated on 60 acres of land which is part of the Greater Toronto Area, is 95 percent homebred.  Art, science and having a “good eye for cattle” have all come together in Paul Ekstein who has the ability to pick a winner.  The purchase of Plushanski Valiant Fran led to seven Excellent and 29 Very Good daughters, and five Excellent and 10 Very Good sons.  Fran earned 35 stars and the title of the highest Star Brood cow in Canada for many years.

Barn Pix

Ari, Paul and Quality B C Frantisco (Ex-96-3E-19*

From Fran came Quality B C Frantisco (Ex-96-3E-19*), and Frantisco’s granddaughter, Quality Goldwyn Flansco (Ex-95), Canada’s first and only third generation Excellent-95 homebred cow.

2002 Cow of the year award presentation

2002 Cow of the year award presentation

Paul has certainly developed a long list of fine dairy cattle including the bull Quality Ultimate who sired many show winners. Over the years Paul feels his success has been founded on a simple philosophy. “It is imperative to love what you do and to work hard to succeed.  Attention to every minor detail can lead to major success.” This is a key lesson Ari Ekstein learned from his father and he also shares this insight. “My dad is a man that has never been afraid to speak his mind.  You always know where you stand with him and because of this some might have taken him the wrong way. As tough as he seems on the outside, he has a heart of gold on the inside.”

Don Schwartz agrees based on his many years of experience working at Quality Holsteins. He points out that Paul has shown and participated at 59 consecutive Royal Winter Fairs and consistently exhibits at every major show in Ontario. “A lot of people see Paul at cattle shows and misinterpret his drive and how excited he would get in the moment.” That passion is there every single day. “The cows have been a huge part of his life and he only ever wants the best to come from all the effort he and everyone at the farm puts into those cows on a daily basis. If they could only see the love and passion he has back at the farm, they would see a wonderful atmosphere which makes every day a learning experience. You don’t have a main core of 3 men each working for you for over 25 years if they don’t respect your values.”

Ekstein, who immigrated to Canada as a child has built a dairy breeding legacy with Quality Holsteins.  There is no doubt that there will be more to come as the likes of Quality Carlton Pam, Canada’s first 97-point bred and owned cow leave their mark on Holstein genetics.

It is truly a pleasure to invite you to join in congratulating Paul Ekstein the 2013 recipient of the McKown Master Breeder Award. 


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