Dennis Roloff of Waupaca was recently honored for his lifelong dedication to Brown Swiss. He received the 2013 Meritorious Service Award from the Wisconsin Brown Swiss Association.
"I was completely surprised," Roloff said. "I had no idea they were going to do anything like this."
"So often people like Dennis do so much and get little or no recognition," said his friend Jim Miller, of Hancock. "He is very willing to help other breeders."
The Roloff Family also received the 2013 Wisconsin Brown Swiss Service Award for their years of dedication to the Brown Swiss breed.
The presentations were made at the 97th annual meeting of the Wisconsin Brown Swiss Association, held in conjunction with the Wisconsin Ayrshire Association's annual meeting on March 16 at Grand Seasons Best Western, Waupaca.
President Rick Thompson presented the herd production and protein awards to: Twinkle-Hill Farm, the Winkelman Family, Watertown; AR-Line Dairy, the Holthaus Family, Bangor; Mayer Farms, Slinger; and Cozy Nook Farm, Tom and Joan Oberhaus, Waukesha.
Individual cow protein awards were presented to: Dan and Angie Rieder, Monroe; Twinkle-Hill Farm, Watertown; Forest Lawn Farm, Wausau; and Tom and Joan Oberhaus, Waukesha.
The association re-elected Andy Fuchs, Fort Atkinson, as vice-president, and Barb Muenzenberger, Coon Valley, as secretary/treasurer.
The new Junior Association officers are: Jenny Rule, Dodgeville, president; Sara Addison, Dodgeville, vice president; and Brooke Muenzenberger, Coon Valley, secretary.
The Wisconsin Junior Association presented its Parent Adult Leader Award to Megan Stuessel of Alma Center.
Nicole Wright of Watertown was crowned as the 2013 Wisconsin Brown Swiss Queen and Brooke Senn, Fox Lake, is the 2013 Wisconsin Brown Swiss Princess.
For more information on the Wisconsin Brown Swiss Association, contact Barb Muenzenberger at 608-486-2297 or visit the website at www.allbreedaccess.com/wibrownswiss.
Meritorious Service Award
While growing up near Royalton, Roloff became involved in 4-H and FFA.
He quickly discovered that the Brown Swiss at William Faskell's Century Acres Farm were perfect project animals for the Waupaca County Fair. By age 12, he was also showing Faskell's cattle at the Wisconsin State Fair, and at Brown Swiss cantons and state shows.
Besides eventually being hired as herdsman for Century Acres, Roloff worked for Lone Oak Swiss, owned by Franklin and Tom Ferg of Waupaca, and for registered Holstein breeders Harold and John Peterson of Waupaca.
He was also employed by Midwest Breeders (now called CRI/Genex), Wisconsin Dairy Herd Improvement Association as a technician and supervisor, and as a lumber grader at Simons Juvenile Furniture Company in New London.
Roloff graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a
degree in Agriculture Education. After college, he married Patti Leach, a daughter of a Holstein breeder from the town of Lind in Waupaca County. They have one son, Jacob (25 years old), who served four years in the Marines and has been deployed three times.
The Roloffs raise both Holsteins and Brown Swiss. They started on a farm near Royalton before moving to a larger farm near Waupaca.
To start the herd, they purchased the Harris Hill cattle from George Harris in Connecticut, a long-time Brown Swiss breeder and past executive secretary of the National Brown Swiss Association. This was Dennis' real start with his own Brown Swiss and he has owned Swiss ever since.
The Roloffs currently live on Haase Road west of Waupaca where they continue to raise Brown Swiss and Holstein heifers. Their cows are housed at Josh and Terry Nett's farm in Fremont.
Roloff is a member of Canton V, Wisconsin Brown Swiss Association, the National Brown Swiss Association and the National Dairy Shrine. He has shown cattle at Canton V High Protein Shows, the Waupaca County Fair, the Wisconsin Central State Fair (in Marshfield), Wisconsin State Brown Swiss Shows and World Dairy Expo.
They have had an All-American nomination and an Honorable Mention Fall Yearling - Royal-Lind Legacy Passion.
For the past two years, Roloff has taken on the role of chairperson and single-handedly organized the Wisconsin State Brown Swiss Show held at the Waupaca County Fairgrounds in Weyauwega.
In addition to all of this, for the last 37 years, Dennis and Patti have bred, raised and shown pedigreed Rex rabbits.
Dennis is currently the vice president of the National Rex Rabbit Club. He has been the secretary and treasurer of the Upper Midwest Rex Rabbit Club and is a member of the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
He helps organize swap meets and the Fox Valley Rabbit Club's Spring Fling show held annually in Weyauwega.
The Roloffs have shown rabbits all over the nation, from Pennsylvania to California, and have won several Best of Breed awards at National Shows. During those 37 years, they have also won at least 112 Best in Show awards, which has never been done by any other rabbit exhibitor.
"As you can see, Dennis is very competitive," Miller said. "He likes to win, but when it goes the other way he doesn't whine - he just goes home and breeds better animals."
"Most of you have seen the strength plus dairy quality in his animals, and he is doing it without spending huge bucks," he added.