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Berkelaar being honoured by agriculture community


MURRAY SIDING - Frank Berkelaar was only a 'pup' when he called his first auction. "It's intimidating at first but you get used to it," said the veteran livestock auctioneer. He was 19 when veterinarian Brian Nettleton, who had just started the Truro Livestock Auction, approached him about working at the sale. He started by loading cattle into the ring and about a year later they asked if he would take an auctioneering course. From there he was hooked. "I always enjoyed it," the Harmony resident said Wednesday. In 1974, Berkelaar, who immigrated to Canada with his family from Holland in 1953, purchased the Maritime Cattle Market. He grew the business to include all types of farm animals, machinery, hay and milk quota until selling the business in January. Today, the well-respected friend of the farming community will be inducted into the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame in Bible Hill.

Livestock auctioneer Frank Berkelaar will be honoured today by the agriculture industry. Jason Malloy Truro Daily News

MURRAY SIDING - Frank Berkelaar was only a 'pup' when he called his first auction.
"It's intimidating at first but you get used to it," said the veteran livestock auctioneer.
He was 19 when veterinarian Brian Nettleton, who had just started the Truro Livestock Auction, approached him about working at the sale. He started by loading cattle into the ring and about a year later they asked if he would take an auctioneering course.
From there he was hooked.
"I always enjoyed it," the Harmony resident said Wednesday.
In 1974, Berkelaar, who immigrated to Canada with his family from Holland in 1953, purchased the Maritime Cattle Market. He grew the business to include all types of farm animals, machinery, hay and milk quota until selling the business in January.
Today, the well-respected friend of the farming community will be inducted into the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame in Bible Hill.
"It's nice to be recognized, (but) it's quite a surprise," Berkelaar told the Truro Daily News.
Part of the hall of fame's prepared bio states: "Perhaps the greatest contribution by Frank to the agricultural industry has been his role as a trusted advisor to farmers over the past 30 years. Frank is an extremely well-respected voice for the livestock industry and has readily transferred this knowledge at the weekly sales, on the farm, and at producer meetings."
It's a little overwhelming for Berkelaar, who said he enjoyed what he did and meeting the many people he came into contact with.
"I never got up in the morning and hated to go to work," the 68-year-old admitted.
Agriculture Minister Brooke Taylor said Berkelaar is a well-deserving recipient of the honour.
"He's helped a lot of people out without a lot of recognition," the Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MLA said.
The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture nominated Berkelaar for the award.
"Frank has been a pillar in the agriculture community. He's provided a lot of services and leadership to the industry," said president Willy Versteeg. "He's just been a very quiet, diligent supporter of agriculture."
Berkelaar said the business means a great deal to the farming community, as before it existed dealers would visit farmers, who were not always sure what their product was worth.
Berkelaar said the toughest time during his years at the market was dealing with the fallout of the mad cow disease crisis, which closed the United States market to Canadian cattle for months and caused uncertainty in the industry.

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