This year an elite group of people were inducted into the in inaugural Dairy Barn Hall of Fame as recognition of their dedication and tireless support of the dairy programs at the Wisconsin State Fair.
This year's inductees are Ray Kuehl of Waunakee, George Barlass of Janesville and Tom and Joan Oberhaus of Waukesha.
On hand to present the honors were Wisconsin State Fair (WSF) Agriculture Director Brian Bolan, and WSF Dairy Promotion Board President Becky Kronberg.
Kuehl was a founding member of the World Dairy Expo in 1963 and says he has been involved in the dairy industry his entire life, beginning as a 5 year old feeding calves.
The Waunakee dairyman served as the Wisconsin State Fair Open Dairy Cattle Superintendent for over 25 years with his son Bruce serving as his assistant. In addition to working at the Fair, he judged the Wisconsin State Fair Junior Holstein show as well as open class breed shows over the years.
Kuehl was a driving force moving the WI Holstein Association Futurity to Wisconsin State Fair and was extremely generous with his time developing the Wisconsin State Fair agriculture village facilities.
Barlass has been involved with Wisconsin’s Dairy industry his entire life and began showing Jerseys in 1941 as a 4-H project and still enjoys jersey shows today.
Their family farm, GIL-BAR Jersey Farm was established in 1927 by George’s great-aunt and uncle and is now owned by the 5th generation, George’s son Gordon and his family.
The Janesville dairyman devoted his life to building a herd of genetically superior Jerseys and has served his fellow Jersey breeders in numerous leadership roles with the Wisconsin Jersey Association, PDCA and World Dairy Expo.
George exhibited outstanding Jersey cattle at Wisconsin State Fair from 1948 until 1990. During that time he won numerous breed championships and was recognized multiple years as Premier Exhibitor.
He has also served as a Wisconsin State Fair judge and served on the Wisconsin State Junior Livestock Committee for 45 years.
Tom and Joan Oberhaus
Tom and Joan Oberhaus, along with their son Charlie, run a 176 acre farm in Waukesha, WI, where they milk 70 registered Swiss and Guernsey cows.
The couple are avid promoters of the dairy industry and have provided over 100 youth an opportunity to experience the dairy industry by exhibiting Cozy Nook animals at County fairs, district shows, and Wisconsin State Fair.
The Waukesha dairy farmers say the find it extremely rewarding to watch young people afraid of large animals (and the smells of farm life) grow into talented show persons, fitters and most importantly young adults. Many of the youth they mentored have gone on to pursue college degrees in agriculture and work in the dairy industry.
Tom and Joan won the Brown Swiss Futurity in 2002, were named Brown Swiss Premier Exhibitor in 2006, received the Wisconsin State Fair Chairman’s Award from 2011-2015 and won numerous production awards over the years. They are also owners of the 2012 Wisconsin Cow of the Year.
Joan has served on the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion board for the last ten years. Both Joan and Tom have helped with the House of Moo education displays.