NZ's Cherilyn Watson heads up World Federation


Holstein Friesian NZ general manager Cherilyn Watson will retain the role of president of the World Holstein Friesian Federation (WHFF) for another five years

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Cherilyn Watson

Watson was re-appointment by election at the 15th World Holstein Conference held in Puy de Fou, France in November.

Cherilyn, who will lead the Federation through until its General Assembly in Australia in 2028, is the first woman to have held this role in the 45-year history of WHFF, and the first New Zealander.

"I feel honoured and privileged that WHFF members trust me to undertake this role for another five years," Cherilyn says.

Cherilyn has been the general manager of New Zealand’s largest dairy breed association for 19 years. She was instrumental in securing funding for and leading the development of BreedIT, an independent information system that encompasses a redeveloped Traits other than Production (TOP) system, and administration system for breed societies to access data straight from the Dairy Industry Good Animal Database (DIGAD).

In her role as Federation president, Cherilyn meets with the WHFF board three times a year online, and in person every one to two years.

She oversees the meetings, research and work undertaken by the Federation, which is responsible for improving, promoting, and developing the Holstein Friesian breed around the world as an advocate for international Holstein Friesian breed members and herd books.

Currently, the work WHFF is undertaking has a strong focus on the harmonisation of breeding traits and conformation traits worldwide, as well as looking at the diversity of the Holstein Friesian population around the world via a research study.

Cherilyn’s experience in the dairy industry is vast. She has been the Oceania representative on the World Holstein Friesian Federation Council since 2016 and is also on the Industry Genetics Steering Group, looking at access to data and genotypes across the New Zealand dairy industry. She sits on the Breed Association Working Group of ICAR, an international committee setting standards for animal recording, and is a member of the NZ Dairy Breeds Federation. Cherilyn also serves on the TOP Advisory Committee, which steers the development and implementation of TOP traits in New Zealand and is an associate director on the NZAEL board.

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