Prominent dairy, cattle breeder sold

A prominent dairy and cattle breeder near Ponoka has been sold

A prominent dairy and cattle breeder near Ponoka has been sold.

Morsan Farms announced recently that its operations have been sold to WestCoast Holsteins of Chilliwack, B.C. The deal closed May 1.

The business, which was owned by the Thalen family, included a large dairy operation and involved the international sale of Holstein genetics. It made headlines in 2009 when one of its cows sold for $1.2 million.

WestCoast Holsteins is also family-owned, and consists of a larger dairy and breeding operation.

Morsan Farms and WestCoast Holsteins have had ongoing business dealings over the years.

Included in the sale were Morsan Farms’ main dairy and heifer facilities at Ponoka, as well as its cattle and genetic inventory.

Darren Kooyman said he didn’t expect Morsan Farms’ operations to be affected by the change in ownership.

Morsan Farms dates back to 1981, when Morris and Sandra Thalen began buying and selling Holstein cattle near Chilliwack, B.C. They started milking in 1987.

With much of their commercial customer base in Alberta, the Thalens relocated to Ponoka in 1995 and began building up one of Western Canada’s largest dairy herds.

They bought their first purebred Holsteins in 1998, and the following year started raising their own heifers. Several of Morris and Sandra’s children worked in the business, including Greg, who is staying with the operation.

“With many of the original goals we set for Morsan Farms having been achieved, the decision to sell the business is related to succession planning and creating an opportunity for the next generation to begin to build something of their own,” said Morris Thalen in a release.

Ken Kooyman said the deal allows WestCoast Holsteins to advance its farming operation and the genetic component of its business.

“In purchasing the Morsan Farms enterprise, we gain the ability to rear our own replacement animals and ramp up our commitment to the pedigree side of our business.”