Three prestigious awards were presented during the Wisconsin Holstein Association Annual Banquet Saturday evening, Feb. 20 in Marshfield. Receiving the Wisconsin Distinguished Younger Dairy Award were Matt and Travis Smith. The Distinguished Breeder Award was presented to Jeffrey and Kate Hendrickson. Earning the Distinguished Service Award was the late Bill Hageman.
Distinguished Service Award
Family, faith and the Holstein cow are three things the 2016 Distinguished Service Award winner cherished, according to presenter Rick Bovre of Fond du Lac.
This year's award winner, William Hageman, Fond du Lac, passed away in December just prior to this year's convention. His passion for his family and love for the Holstein cow were endless. His foundation was his faith and he treasured spending time with his two children, Sue and her husband Daniel, and Bill and his wife Kelly, and his five grandchildren.
Hageman believed in breeding for balance and sound cow families. As a result, he bred numerous All-Wisconsin winners and his bull, Hagemans Tempo, was inducted into the 2007 Wall of Fame. After his dispersal in 1992, he did nutritional work and served as a mentor to younger dairymen. Being named the Outstanding Holstein Boy in 1960 instilled in him the importance of sharing his knowledge with others, especially youth. They were also awarded the WHA Distinguished Dairyman Award in 1988.
Hageman exemplified the word volunteer. He served as a WHA director for six years, including residing as president. He was elected delegate to the National Holstein Convention numerous years.
In addition, Hageman was a valued volunteer on the ethics committee for World Dairy Expo. One of his main responsibilities involved measuring the height of the animal's toplines. 'I can honestly say Bill put his hands on every champion at World Dairy Expo,' Bovre quipped, adding 'he could tell you which bulls sired the best heifers for topline hair.'
Bovre said Hageman was a driving force behind establishing the Fond du Lac County Sale, now in its 71st year. He philosophy was to choose consignments with a buyer in mind.
Bovre shared Bill worked side by side with his wife of 55 years, Saloah, whether in the barn or out in the field. Describing his friends, Bovre said, 'They were both advocates of animal husbandry dedicated to their family, faith and registered Holstein cow.' According to Bovre, Bill always focused on the good in life.
His desire to share his faith and help others was the driving force behind the 23 years he served in the jail ministry of Fond du Lac County, Gideons International and an active member of Grace Reformed Church where he also served as an Elder.
Upon accepting his award, Saloah said Bill was honored to be a part of the Wisconsin Holstein industry and thoroughly enjoyed growing friendships. She knows for sure Bill would have been honored and humbled to receive this award, but definitely would have stressed there are many others who are just as deserving as me.
Distinguished Breeder Award
The Distinguished Breeder Award is the highest award bestowed upon its members who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
The Hendricksons, who have raised five children, have been 30-year members of the state and national Holstein associations. They earned the Younger Dairyman Award back in 1994.
Jeffrey-Way Holsteins has earned the prestigious Progressive Breeder Registry Award for 23 years and the Progressive Genetics Award 19 years. They maintain a Rolling Herd Average of 28,457 pounds of milk and a BAA of 112 on 90 cows.
The herd is 96 percent homebred. They have bred 180 Excellents, developed 45 Gold Medal Dams and 15 Dams of Merits, sent 61 bulls to AI organizations, and exported embryos worldwide.
According to presenter and WHA board member Kevin Jorgensen, 'The Hendricksons are the text book definition of a family farm. They have a 'no-non-sense' approach to everything; everything is done consistently on a daily basis.'
Younger Dairy Award
Smith-Crest Holsteins, Matt & Kate Smith and Travis and Holly Smith of Watertown, was this year's recipient of the Younger Dairy Award.
SmithCrest Holsteins graciously opens its doors to juniors, whether its judging or just touring their elite herd.
They boast a 25,000-pound herd average, have developed 30 Excellent cows and seven national class winners. They have exhibited five champions at national shows.