A pioneer in the application of artificial insemination in cattle, veterinarian Dr. Russell James McDonald devoted his professional career to the development and improvement of the industry. From 1946, Russ McDonald played a leading role in the expansion of AI in Ontario, into western Canada and throughout the world.
Dr. McDonald spearheaded developments from his home county of Oxford with the Oxford Holstein Breeders AI Unit, to the Oxford and District Cattle Breeders’ Association, then to the Western Ontario Breeders Inc, the organization that he served as general manager from 1969 to 1988. He was president of the Ontario Association of Animal Breeders from 1951-53 and in 1982 became president of the Canadian Association of Animal Breeders, the organization he helped to create.
Russ McDonald was among the first to recognize the need to evaluate young sires through performance of a group of daughters to determine true genetic ability before placement in unlimited service. He pioneered financial incentives as encouragement to producers to participate in the program. Russ played a leading role in the export of semen, serving as chairman of the Semen Export Committee from 1954 to 1988. As predecessor of Semex Canada, this committee was involved in export of semen from Ontario to western Canada and later, to markets around the world.
Dr. Russ McDonald, who became the vice-chairman of the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario at its inception in 1962, served as a member and subsequently as chairman until 1974. He exerted a strong influence on the expansion and direction of research in Ontario. His contributions have been previously recognized by many, receiving the OAC Centennial Medal in 1974 and the University of Guelph Alumnus of Honour Award in 1979.
Since retirement from WOBI in 1989 Dr. Russell McDonald has been executive director of the Canadian Association of Animal Breeders (CAAB)