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Appleton - Brown boots may have been on the feet of many in attendance, but black and white Holsteins were on the minds of all. The Calumet County Holstein Breeders hosted the 2017 Wisconsin Adult Holstein Association Convention at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton February 23-24.
Over 100 Registered Holstein Breeders were in attendance, gathering in friendship, fellowship all surrounding their love for the black and white Holstein. The weekend was comprised of an informational panel on farm succession, election of new board of directors, farm tours, annual business meeting and formal banquet.

Distinguished Holstein Breeder

The 2017 recipient of the highest honor given in the association was bestowed upon Dodge County breeders, Carl and Bonnie Werner, Car-Bon Holsteins. The herd has an intense focus on grazing, utilizes only the best sires and puts longevity back into the breed. Car-Bon has been a host to numerous international guests to learn about the Registered Holstein breed, making them a truly distinguished breeder in our industry.

Carl quoted Robin Yount, stating, “Life is too short, you’ve got to give it all you’ve got,” explaining why he’s still so passionate about breeding and developing some of the best Holsteins in our association. Carl also credits his wife, Bonnie, who he says without her, the farm wouldn’t have lasted this long. Truly, an inspirational story of a couple who love each other and genuinely love the Registered Holstein cow.

Bovres earn  Distinguished Service Award

Rick and Paula Bovre, owners of The Great Northern Land and Cattle Company, are the 2017 recipients of the WHA Service Award. The Fond du Lac County couple have hosted hundreds of production sales, farm dispersals, state and county sales plus so much more. Not to mention the effort and time that they invest in the youth from across the state.

From fitting clinics to employing youth, Rick and Paula have been such an incredible mentor to youth and promoting the Registered Holstein breed towards them. In thanking, Rick stated, “a lot of the credit goes to Paula.” His wife of many years, told those in attendance that “we live and breathe Holsteins,” a true testament to their integrity in the industry and the feeling of appreciation from all of those who benefit from their service to WHA.

Young Breeder Award

Adam Borchert of Tree-Hayven Holsteins is the 2017 Young Holstein Breeder Award recipient. The Iowa native, purchased his current farm in 2001 and has grown to become a herd with a BAA of 110.3, improving the herd’s genetics over time. Not only does he take pride in his cattle, but also being a resource for others to learn from.

Tree-Hayven enjoys helping and mentoring the youth within his county with a variety of dairy related activities throughout the year. Additionally, the farm was one of the stops for tours during the 2016 Wisconsin Holstein Adult Convention, allowing breeders from across the state step foot on the farm to view the cows, ask questions about the operation and more.

Retiring board members

Kent Wendorf and Chad Ryan were formally recognized for their work as members of the Executive Board of Directors at the Wisconsin Holstein Association. Wendorf served on the Legislative and Bylaws Committee, and will be dearly missed as his impact was felt far beyond just the board of directors. Ryan served as board vice president and leaves big shoes to fill as the new board members were elected over the weekend.

Calumet County Honors Don Stegge

94-year-old Calumet County Holstein breeder, Don Stegge was honored by the convention hosts for his impact in the county. Stegge, owner of KT Holsteins has an incredible story, starting as a member at the age of 9, showing a first prize spring calf at the Wisconsin State Fair one of his first years eligible.

Stegge was drafted to serve his country in WWII, came back and started farming. After years of life on the farm, he sold his cows and became a radio broadcaster, succeeding the legend Orion Samuelson. As the story continues, the impact that Stegge has made on Calumet County Holstein breeders as they celebrate 100 years of their association, is remarkable.

Early Morning Business Meeting

Saturday morning’s business meeting covered a large variety of committee reports, items of new business and announcements. Board President, Kevin Jorgenson, made his address to start, welcoming the group and briefing them on the year’s accomplishments. He also introduced Darren Johnson, the newly hired Wisconsin Holstein Association Executive Director. Johnson, active as a junior member years ago says he’s, “truly excited to give back to the association.”
The candidates for the board of director’s positions available campaigned for support at the morning business meeting. Candidates included Craig Krohlow, Sara Feldmen, Erica Lundberg, Sherry Siemers-Peterman and Erica Ullom. Krohlow, Feldman, Siemers-Peterman and Ullom were officially elected to serve a term on the board of directors.

Committee reports were given, highlighting important changes and happenings. It was moved and seconded to create an All-Breeds Futurity at the Wisconsin State Fair in an effort to draw more inclusion from other breeds and represent Wisconsin’s dairy industry as a whole to the urban audience at the state fair grounds. Changes will not become effective until the 2019 futurity.

From the breed improvement committee, it was decided that spring barn meetings and the summer picnic will rotate in the future. The 2017 picnic will be hosted by the Gilbertson family in the south west district, and the 2018 spring barn meetings are still be planned.
Paul Burr from Holstein USA gave a presentation and updates from nationals concerning animal identification, Holstein Registrations, Holstein Complete and an on-going website reconstruction that is currently happening at Holstein USA.
Marci Walker gave a report on behalf of the National Dairy Shrine, encouraging membership and announcing the due date for the annual scholarship for post-secondary education.
Corey Geiger spoke to the membership as the chairman of the 2018 National Holstein Convention planning committee. The 2018 convention will be hosted by the state of Wisconsin, taking place in Appleton at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel.

Farm Tours

Saturday afternoon was spent by many, touring Hillrose Holsteins, the Brantmeier family, and Fer-Crest Holsteins, Brandon and Shianne Ferry.

Early Morning Discussion Panel

Andy Junkin, Ontario, a specialist in farm succession, moderated the morning discussion with panel members Tony Brey, Sandy Larson, Jim Rickert and Dawn Haag. The panel’s main focus was transfer of assets on the farm to the next generation and how to make this transition successful.

Each panelist had a different perspective, weighing in on topics such as how to share assets between siblings in the incoming generation, opinions on farm financials, communication between family members on these topics, how to handle power struggles between siblings and attitudes critical for success on the farm.

Each panelist made several key points, emphasizing the need for compromise and communication between all parties. Furthermore, the panelists made it clear that all those invested in the dairy need to be working towards the same goal, making decisions that are best for the future of the farm.

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