During the first 30 years of the twentieth century James Rettie probably wielded a greater influence on the type of Canadian Holstein cattle than any other man. He did this as a breeder of outstanding stock, an exhibitor of prize winners, a leading judge and a selective registration inspector.
At a time when most breeders were primarily interested in how much milk a cow could produce in a day or a week, James Rettie envisaged ideals of sound type and aimed his program toward the production of animals that corresponded to those ideals.
Mr. Rettie was a charter member of the Holstein-Friesian Association of Canada, a member of the executive committee for 13 years, and president in 1913. Shortly after the selective registry program was initiated in 1925, he was appointed chief inspector, and in that capacity, classified cattle in all parts of Canada for the next 10 years.