Prominent Jersey breeder dies
Prominent jersey breeder and cattle showman Don Ferguson died on February 9, aged 81.
The Otorohanga ex-dairy farmer was a mainstay at the Waikato A&P Show for over 70 years as a competitor, judge and most recently, patron.
He also competed at the National Dairy Event at Manfeild, Feilding over the past nine years and won the supreme champion cow ribbon on more than one occasion.
Former Event manager Neville Turnbull said Ferguson was a ‘‘mellow, giant of a man’’, who was always there to help people.
‘‘He was a leader in his field. We’ll certainly miss him.’’
Jersey New Zealand president Alison Gibb said Ferguson had done an enormous amount of work in raising the profile of the breed.
‘‘It was only a fortnight ago that he was at the dairy event and still encouraging people, still having a laugh with members, still enjoying the successes of his family in the show ring. Wild horses wouldn’t have kept him away.’’
Gibb said it was wonderful to see his passion for jerseys being carried on with his son, grandson and great-grandson.
Ferguson was also known for his relationship with Queen Elizabeth II, who part-owned some of the cows in his herd. He was one of a handful of people who was able to call the Queen directly.
The Queen visited the Ferguson’s stud in 1990 and he was subsequently requested to prepare the Queen’s Windsor herd at the World Jersey Cattle Bureau Conference.
He was recognised for his services to cattle breeding and the dairy industry when he received the Insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2010 Queens Birthday Honours List.
Jersey New Zealand general manager Pam Goodin said Ferguson was a wonderful advocate for the breed in the show ring and as a stud breeder with his Ferdon Stud and set standards others aspired to.
Otorohanga jersey cattle breeder Don Ferguson in 2013 with three-year-old jersey cow, Ferdon Folly’s Lulu, one of the cows in his herd co-owned by the Queen.