Wisconsin Holstein Association recognizes Holstein breeders
Leadership and dedication to the dairy industry exemplifies the three award winners recognized by the Wisconsin Holstein Association (WHA) during its Adult Convention, Feb. 24-25, in Waupaca.
Distinguished Service Award
Steve Holte, Westby, is no stranger when it comes to being recognized by peers.
And once again, Holte was honored by fellow Holstein breeders from throughout Wisconsin with the Distinguished Service Award.
Holte has now earned two of the three major awards the Wisconsin Holstein Association (WHA) bestows upon its adult members. The WHA also presented Holte with the prestigious Distinguished Breeder award.
The Distinguished Service Award winner has served the WHA as a state board member for six years, and he is one of just a few people to serve as State Holstein president for two years, from 1992-1993. He has also served on numerous WHA committees throughout the years.
On the local level, the Westby Holstein breeder has hosted two twilight meetings and served nearly 10 years as county board member, including a term as president.
In addition, he has chaired the county Holstein sale for more than 25 years as well as co-chairing their District Sale since its inception.
And, Holte has accumulated nearly 40 years of board service to his local community. The coop, bank, church and creamery are boards to which he has dedicated 15 years of service as president.
While serving his local community, Holte was recognized as the Outstanding Young County Farmer and Outstanding Coop member as well as the County Conservationist of the Year.
The award winner has also served several years as a delegate for Accelerated Genetics, Vernon County DHIA and the National Holstein Association.
This dedication to a lifetime of service has resulted in numerous awards including the Master Agriculturist. His Holstein peers have also honored him as the Friend of the Holstein Cow.
Holte returned to the home farm upon his father’s passing at a young age, when he was serving his fellow man in the United States Air Force. He gradually converted the herd from grade Holsteins and Guernseys to registered Holsteins.
Today, Crest-View Acres’ herd has a Rolling Herd Average of 26,190 pounds of milk, 951 pounds of fat and 778 pounds of protein with a BAA of 108.8. The herd has earned three Progressive Breeder Awards and 21 Progressive Genetics Awards with an average CTPI of 1705.
He has bred a well respected herd that consists of several locator list cows, bulls sent to A.I. and numerous Excellent cows from deep pedigrees.
Steve and his wife, Kay, have three daughters, Heidi Nelson, Heather Gutierrez and Holly Holte.
According to presenter Lynn Harbaugh, Marion, who worked for the Holtes for about 18 months while in high school, “I am a firm believer that great leaders serve others through their actions rather than by orders. Steve Holte exemplifies these qualities.”
Harbaugh concluded, “I have looked up to you (Steve) as a mentor and you have taught me a lot about cows. But you have taught me so much more. The things that really matter in life. Treat people the way you want to be treated and don’t raise your voice to people. Support the people you love and what they want to do in life.”
Distinguished Breeder Award
Another Vernon County Holstein breeder, R. Paul Buhr Jr., was the recipient of the Distinguished Holstein Breeder award.
After earning a four-year degree in Dairy Science, Buhr married his college sweetheart, Darlene and returned to the home farm where he formed the Rabur partnership with his dad, Raymond.
Coming from very humble beginnings, back in the 90s emerged a cow family known worldwide today as the “P” family that put Buhr on the map.
This “P” family produced a bull called Perspiration who went on to become the #13 bull in the breed for TPI.
According to Kent Wendorf, fellow Holstein breeder from Viroqua who made the presentation, “Paul has beautiful hard-working cows that afforded them many marketing opportunities.”
Many of the Rabur-bred cattle have gone on to perform at a high level for other breeders — several are scored 93 or 94 points and have earned Junior All-Wisconsin recognition.
In 2007, Rabur Encore Lovable was named Grand Champion of the District 2 Holstein Show and later earned Reserve All-Wisconsin honors in the 125,000-pound milk class. In addition, several Rabur-bred animals carry a high genomics index that are sought after in the A.I. industry.
Rabur Holsteins has earned 33 consecutive Progressive Breeder awards and 21 Progressive Genetics awards. They have developed 34 Gold Medal Dams and over 100 cows carrying the Rabur prefix are scored “Excellent.”
On the national level, Buhr has shared his expertise on the Genetic Advancement Committee for Holstein Association USA and is the current Region 5 nominee for a position on the Holstein Association USA board.
On the local level, he has served on the Heartland Cooperative Board and served terms on the Vernon County Holstein Breeders Board. He has helped chair the Vernon County Sale for over 20 years, and has hosted the county twilight meeting and breakfast on the farm.
Rabur Holsteins has invited judging teams to its farm for years, including the collegiate teams that come to practice before the contest at World Dairy Expo in Madison in September.
According to Wendorf, “Paul creates excitement in the Holstein breed, and is also very supportive of his family. Darlene is the librarian at Viroqua Area Schools; they have three children, Melanie, Wyatt and Evan.
In his acceptance speech, Buhr said, “It’s been a lot of hard work and lean financial times . . . you need to find some inspiration to achieve a high level every day — I get that from my friends.”
He mentioned his dad passed away 20 years ago but his mom still comes out to clean the office once in awhile “because it gets dirty.”
He advised those in the audience to find a ladder to climb but make sure you are going in the right direction . . . don’t be afraid to use the Holstein organization as a tool.
Distinguished Younger Dairy Breeder Award
Winner of the Younger Breeder Award, Carncross grew up on his family’s Registered Holstein Farm, Wargo Acres in Lodi.
The herd produces a Rolling Herd Average of 26,865 pounds of milk, 958 pounds of fat and 821 pounds of protein with a BAA of 107.7 on 240 cows. They earned the Progressive Breeder award for 18 years and the Progressive Genetics award for two years.
Over 30 cows have produced over 200,000 pounds lifetime milk and four over 300,000 pounds. They have developed 26 Gold Medal Dams and 16 Dams of Merit.
On his 9th birthday, Carncross was given his first registered calf. He was an active member in several organizations, including 4-H, FFA and the Junior Holstein Association.
From 1996-2006 he coached the Columbia County 4-H Dairy Judging Team. In 2005, the team won the State Judging Contest as well as the National 4-H Contest held at World Dairy Expo, earning them the opportunity to compete in the international contest in Scotland.
A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, Carncross was determined to return to the family farm.
In 2004, Wargo Acres began discussions regarding expansion and in 2007 construction of a new freestall barn and parlor were underway.
The herd grew from within; very few animals were purchased as great cow families are the foundation of Wargo Acres. The Columbia County native is a firm believer that true breeding cows can make a difference over many generations.
Carncross’ dedication to the Holstein cow is neverending. In fact, he once did a herd check over the phone while his wife was in labor at the hospital.
A advocate for the dairy industry, Craig’s wife, Jen, along with his children, Gavin and Nolan and parents, just hosted the 2011 Columbia County Dairy Breakfast on their farm.