Douglas G. Blair

Douglas George Blair, originally from a farm family in British Columbia, has been an integral part of the bovine artificial insemination industry for over 30 years. He had a vision to develop a world class cattle genetics company that would improve the genetic level of livestock producers’ herds throughout Canada and around the world. Doug followed that vision and successfully accomplished the dream with entrepreneurial enthusiasm, mergers, partnerships, and a high degree of risk acceptance. The result was a global marketplace for semen, embryos and live cattle.

After graduating from the University of British Columbia in 1965, Doug Blair served as sire analyst and semen production team member at the British Columbia Artificial Insemination Centre. In 1969 he and a partner founded the first prairie artificial insemination centre, Western Breeders Services, at Balzac, Alberta, which distributed semen in western Canada. Marketing agreements helped to grow the business and after delivering the first bovine embryos to New Zealand, Western Breeders became the largest exporter of frozen embryos in Canada, shipping more than 10,000 to Australia and more than 3,000 to Russia.

In 1988, Doug Blair led Western Breeders through amalgamation with Alta Genetics, a leading embryo transfer and biotechnology company. Alta Genetics Inc. became a full bovine, genetic research, product and service company. It provided research support at the doctorate level to universities across Canada for work on embryo transfer, embryo sexing, semen freezing, and cloning research for bovines. The results helped provide livestock producers with the means to market their superior genetics around the world.

Mr. Blair, in 1993, put bovine genetics, artificial insemination and livestock improvement on the ‘corporate map’ when Alta Genetics Inc. became a publicly traded company. Then, Alta purchased Landmark Genetics in the United States, doubling its business. Globalization was furthered when the organization, in a joint venture, built a centre and breeding program in the Netherlands, and another in Brazil.

Doug Blair was a founding member of Semex Canada and served on the Canadian Agriculture and Food Marketing Council. He is co-founder and active participant in: Canadian Livestock Exporters Association, Canadian Embryo Exporters Association, Canadian Association of Animal Breeders (founding president), and National 4-H Foundation of Canada. Although Doug retired after 33 years of operating Alta Genetics Inc., he remains chairman of Canadian Dairy Network, National Association of Animal Breeders in the USA and a board member of Alta Genetics Inc.

Doug Blair is a recipient of the Order of Canada and the Canadian Commemorative Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Canada (1993).

Nominated By:
  • Alta Genetics Inc.