Simon Lalande of Ferme Blondin, Saint-Placide, Quebec, was named the 2017 Curtis Clark Achievement Award winner at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Ont., on November 10th. Lalande is the 31st winner of this prestigious award which was established by the Alberta Holstein Branch in 1988 to honour the late Curtis Clark of Acme Holsteins, a respected Alberta Holstein breeder, cowman and showman.
Whether it is breeding and developing cow families, exhibiting at shows, travelling the roads to find the next great young cow, or actively marketing genetics, Simon Lalande truly has an amazing passion for the dairy cattle industry. Lalande, 49, is the seventh generation of his family to operate Ferme Blondin. When he was young, his father Louis only had grade Holsteins. Simon’s interest in purebred dairy cattle became evident when he was a teenager and started showing animals in 4-H. In 1984, Simon’s father purchased a yearling heifer in the Holstein Canada Centennial Sale for him. Diamond Hill Warden Lass (VG-87) became the foundation of one of the herd’s best known cow families and is the second dam of Blondin Skychief Supra (Ex-93-2E-34*), Holstein Canada’s 2009 “Cow of the Year”. A granddaughter of Supra’s, Blondin Redman Seisme (Ex-97-2E-USA-2*), is the highest classified Red & White cow in the world and is a two-time grand champion at the Red & White Show at World Dairy Expo and a three-time grand champion at the Royal Winter Fair’s Red & White Show, where she was also Royal Supreme Dairy Champion in 2011. Other noted Supra family members include Blondin James Supra (Ex-90-USA-9*), 2004 Reserve All-Canadian 4-year-old; Blondin Destry Sally (Ex-93), Royal Red & White Show grand champion and All-Canadian Red & White Junior Cow in 2014; and Blondin Goldwyn Subliminale-ETS (Ex-96-2E-USA), All-Canadian mature cow in 2016. The success of this family, and others, has earned Ferme Blondin two Master Breeder shields from Holstein Canada.
In 1999, Simon Lalande and Pierre Boulet of Pierstein Holsteins, Montmagny, Que., formed a partnership called the Alliance Blondin-Pierstein. Together, they earned Premier Exhibitor honours at the Royal Winter Fair Holstein Show five consecutive years, 1999 through 2003, and were leading exhibitor of All-Canadians in 2002 and 2003 before dissolving the partnership.
Ferme Blondin shows extensively each year and has won many All-Canadian and All-American awards. At the Royal Winter Fair, they were Premier Exhibitor of the Holstein Show in 2010 and Premier Breeder of the Red & White Show in 2014. Among the many winners to carry the Blondin prefix has been Blondin Lyster Beauty (Ex-93-USA-5*), intermediate champion at the Royal Winter Fair in 2007 and World Dairy Expo in 2008 and a four-time All-Canadian nominee or winner. Lalande’s great eye for cattle has led him to own and develop such highly regarded show cows as Rockymountain Talent Licorice (Ex-95-USA-8*), intermediate champion at the Royal and All-Canadian and Reserve All-American senior 3-year-old in 2010. Licorice later topped the International Intrigue Sale hosted by Ferme Blondin in 2011 and went on to be All-Canadian and All-American 4-year-old for her new owner. Lalande continues to remain a strong show competitor every year with cows like Skycrest Mincio Prickles (VG-89), Ontario Summer Show grand champion, and Al-Shar Dempsey Alison (VG-89), first 4-year-old at Le Supreme Laitier, just examples of his many show winnings in 2017.
Lalande combines his love for breeding, developing and showing beautiful cows with deep pedigrees, with great marketing skills. He and his Ferme Blondin team merchandise hundreds of cattle and embryos each year, both domestically and internationally. They aim to have genetics that will fit all markets, including genomics, by working with such cows as Regancrest S Celebrity-ET (Ex-94-2E-28*). In addition, Lalande manages and co-manages many sales, including the Sale of Stars, under the name Blondin Int’l Inc.
Working alongside Simon, and sharing his enthusiasm and commitment to the dairy cattle industry, is his partner Kim Côte and their four sons, Olivier, Nicolas, Thomas and Anthony. In mid-October, the Blondin herd moved into a new free-stall barn with a milking parlour where they milk 175 cows in a herd which numbers around 600 head in total. The herd presently includes 20 Excellent, 85 Very Good and 15 Good Plus cows.
The Curtis Clark Achievement Award is presented annually at the Royal to the Canadian dairy cattle exhibitor who is respected for his ability, sportsmanship and dedication. The winner is chosen by former recipients of the award. Surprised and humbled by his selection as the latest Clark Award recipient, Simon Lalande is very proud and happy to join the list of names engraved on the distinctive Clark trophy which bears a bronzed version of Curtis Clark’s hat. Lalande was also presented with a gold belt buckle as a personal keepsake of the award.