Heinrich Holtmann was born in 1902, in Diestedde, Westfalen, Germany and immigrated to Canada in March 1928. That fall he signed a purchase agreement on 400 acres in Rosser and enrolled in an agricultural short course at the University of Manitoba. The following spring he took possession of his farm and purchased purebred Holsteins from Sam Simms of Stonewall and the Agricultural College herd.
Heine married Johanna Westerlemke in 1933. They had three daughters and five sons; Johanna, Theo, Helmut, Wilfried, Erika, Felix, Trudy and John.
The quality of his herd was recognized in 1946 when fifty head of dairy cattle were exported to a Minnesota farmer searching for new genetics. In 1947 a milk contract was signed with Piggly Wiggly Dairy, later known as Lucerne Dairy.
In 1949 herd sire “Rockwood Rocket Tone” was Junior Champion at the Toronto Royal, sold to Qunite Artificial Insemination Unit in Ontario, and later became Grand Champion at the Royal in 1951, 1952, 1953 and 1955.
He served for 14 years as a school trustee and helped form the Interlake School Division. He started the Rosser 4-H Dairy Club, and all of his children became 4-H members. From 1949 to 1965 Heine was President of Schutzenverein, a social club at Little Britain. He was also involved in the Rosser Community Clubs.
Heine quickly adopted new technologies and production methods: artificial insemination, bulk tank, glass pipeline and free stall barn. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge with university students and visitors from Canada and other countries. In 1965 when son Theo became a partner, “Holtmann & Sons Incorporated” was formed to include all the family and aid in intergenerational farm transfers.
Heine was a Board Member of the Winnipeg District Milk Producers Co-op for 18 years, Vice President for four years and representative to the Manitoba Farm Bureau and Dairy Farmers of Canada. He was awarded life memberships in the Manitoba Dairy Association, Winnipeg District Milk Producers’ Co-op and Holstein Association of Canada.
In 1970 he volunteered for CESO (Canadian Executive Service Overseas) where he and Johanna spent six months in Iran supervising a dairy operation. In 1975, he spent four months in Poona, India with CESO studying cattle types and suitable crops for the area.
His grandsons continue to operate Rosser Holsteins and were awarded “Family Farm of the Year” by the Red River Exhibition Association in 1997.
Heine’s entire life was dedicated to farm, family and community.