Rocky View County Producer is Named Alberta's Commercial Breeder of the Year
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Congratulations to Howard Hawkwood on receiving Alberta Hereford Association’s Commercial Breeder of the Year for 2021!
Howard grew up on a dairy farm in the Bearspaw district in what is now Northwest Calgary. His passion for Hereford cattle began in 1963 when his dad, Joe Hawkwood, purchased three Hereford heifers. In 1970, they sold their dairy cows and bought more Hereford cows; his ranching career had started. Howard’s Dad always said, “Focus on the cows because they will make you money.”
Howard graduated from Olds College in Agricultural Production in 1976. In 1977, they purchased their great herd sire, 99G, from Jones Hereford Ranches at Balzac, Alberta. He continued working with his parents, Joe and Aurica, until 1987 when (with their support) he set out on his own.
Howard and his wife, Nielle, ranch in the Lochend area west of Airdrie, Alberta. He started out with a herd of mixed breed cows, and tried his hand with a few other breeds, but always made sure that there was a Hereford bull in the mix to provide replacement heifers.
After a few years, Harold came back to 100% Hereford breeding. His reasons for choosing Herefords are many, including remarkable longevity. He recently sold a cow with a K tag; we are now in a J year. This cow never missed a calving season and her heifers are in the herd. He calls her a money maker. In addition, he finds that Herefords provide excellent fertility and calving ease, good disposition, high levels of feed efficiency and the ability to withstand changes in weather. Herefords withstand the cold with thick hair coats while other breeds seek shelter; in summer they are able to stay out and continue grazing while other breeds must find shade.