National Dairy Shrine (NDS) is pleased to announce the winners of the Graduate Dairy Production, Progressive Dairy Producer, Pioneer, Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder, and Guest of Honor awards for this year. These awards were designed to honor dairy industry leaders that have contributed to strengthen and enliven the dairy industry.
Receiving the Guest of Honor, the highest award bestowed by the National Dairy Shrine, is Calvin Covington, Clemmons, NC. This award goes to an individual that has had a dramatic impact on the dairy industry and its future. Mr. Covington served as the Chief Executive Officer of Southeast Milk Inc. for the past 10 years. Southeast Milk is the nation's 15th largest cooperative, and Covington has been instrumental in the cooperative's growth since his arrival in 2000. Prior to that, he spent 23 years with the American Jersey Cattle Association-National All Jersey, Inc., where he worked tirelessly to promote and build consensus of support for the introduction of multiple component pricing. Jersey breeders have benefited greatly by the change to paying for milk on a fat and protein basis, rather than volume.
The NDS Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder is the William Ramsey family from Paradise Valley Farms near Louisville, Ohio. The Ramsey's' are the breeders of the popular breeder satisfaction bull Paradise-R Cleitus Mathie. On March 14, 2000, Mathie produced his one-millionth unit of semen becoming one of 42 bulls to achieve this distinction. His official production proof numbers some 62,000 daughters all over the world. The Ramsey family are also active promoters of the dairy industry and are participating in an American Dairy Association's Mideast effort to introduce Ohio dairy farmers to consumers through a website www.ohiodairyfarmers.com.
Through an anonymous selection committee, Dr. Jack Albright, Merle Howard, Dr. Lee Majeskie, Dr. Rex Powell, and Mert Sowerby were selected as National Dairy Shrine Pioneers. This year's honorees are an exemplary display of many facets of the dairy industry and of National Dairy Shrine. Dr. Jack Albright is professor emeritus in the Animal Sciences Department at Purdue University and was a leading animal welfare researcher and successful judging coach. Merle Howard was on the first National Dairy Shrine Board, a long-time World Dairy Expo volunteer, the 1954 Klussendorf Winner, and is one of only eight recipients of the National Dairy Shrine 4-E Award for outstanding service. Dr. Lee Majeskie built and maintained one of the most successful 4-H programs in the country in Maryland while coaching many successful dairy cattle judging teams. Dr. Rex Powell is a highly published and dedicated geneticist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal Improvement Laboratory who was instrumental in the development and use of international genetic evaluations. Mert Sowerby is an internationally known dairy judge, farm manager, classifier, a charter member of National Dairy Shrine and 1953 winner of the Klussendorf Award.
Luke and Derek Johnson in the small herd division and Andy and Lynn Buttles in the large herd division were selected as NDS Progressive Dairy Producers. This award is a $2000 travel stipend to attend a conference or seminar to learn new techniques to improve their business. The Johnsons have a well-known herd of registered Holsteins (prefix Joleanna) in New York that have captured several national show winnings. The Buttles' Stone Front Farm is a 5th generation 400-cow Holstein and Jersey dairy in Wisconsin. The Buttles were recognized by Holstein USA as the Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder in 2004.
Tim Northrup of York, New York, has been selected as the Graduate Dairy Production winner. This award goes to an active dairyman who has graduated from college in the last five years and has already demonstrated excellent dairy management ability. Tim will receive a $2,500 award sponsored by Elanco Animal Health to be used toward the purchase of cattle to improve his herd.
All of these outstanding winners will be honored at the annual National Dairy Shrine Awards Banquet at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis. on Thursday, Sept. 30. Please contact Dr. David Selner if you want to reserve banquet tickets at [email protected] or at 920-863-6333.