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Wisconsin youth among Jr. Holstein Association's Best of the Best

Wisconsin State Farmer


BRATTLEBORO, VT –  Eight Wisconsin youth were among the Best of the Best when semifinalists in the 96th Annual Holstein Association USA Distinguished Junior Member and the Young Distinguished Junior Member contests were announced this week.

This competition recognizes excellence in the Junior Holstein Association and the Distinguished Junior member award is the highest honor given to members of the National Junior Holstein Association, ages 17 to 21.

Four Wisconsin youth are the semifinalists in the 96th Annual Holstein Association USA Distinguished Junior Member contest. They include (top left, clockwise) Samuel Minch, Green Bay; Austin Nauman, Norwalk; Danielle Warmka, Fox Lake and Joseph Opsal, Blue Mounds.

Wisconsin members competing for this honor are:

  • Samuel Minch, Green Bay, son of Glenn and Shelby Minch
  • Austin Nauman, Norwalk, son of Danielle Nauman and Scott Stanford
  • Joseph Opsal, Blue Mounds, son of Troy Opsal and Jane Sarbacker
  • Danielle Warmka, Fox Lake, daughter of Russ and Laura Warmka

The remaining 2018 Distinguished Junior Members Semifinalists are: Alexandra Gambonini, Petaluma, Ca.; Daniel Kitchen, Danville, Pa.; Haely Leiding, Fountain, Minn.;        Kayla Leiding, Fountain, Minn.; Erin Norris, Westhampton, Mass.; Taylor Pool, Robesonia, Pa.; Nicholas Logan Potts, Purcellville, Va.; and Mary Scott, Westgate, Iowa.

YDJM Recognition

The YDJM recognition is designed to reward youth, ages 9 to 16, who demonstrate a firsthand working knowledge of the dairy industry. Applicants must participate in Registered Holstein®, dairy and other activities, be role models for other youth and good spokespeople for the dairy industry.

Four Wisconsin youth are among the semifinalists in the 96th Annual Holstein Association USA Young Distinguished Junior Member contest. They include (top left, clockwise) Eliza Endres, Waunakee; Matthew Gunst, Hartford; Samantha Pitterle, Watertown; and Hannah Hockerman, Westfield.

Wisconsin members who have earned this honor are:

  • Eliza Endres, Waunakee, daughter of Randy and Karen Endres
  • Matthew Gunst, Hartford, Wis., son of Dennis and Nichole Gunst
  • Hannah Hockerman, Westfield, daughter of Greg and Dawn Hockerman
  • Samantha Pitterle, Watertown, daughter of Mark and Val Pitterle

The remaining 2018 Distinguished Junior Members Semifinalists are: Nathan Erbsen, Lanark, Ill.; Julia Heijkoop, Webster, Fla.; Audrie Risser, Lebanon, Pa.; and Blake Wright, Verona, Mo..

Kelli Dunklee, Holstein Association USA & Holstein Foundation Program Specialist states, “One of the most important components of Holstein Association USA is its youth programs. The Young Distinguished Junior Member program, which began in 2004, recognizes the future of the dairy industry. This honor has become an extremely coveted award by honoring youth from across the country while drawing future leaders committed to Registered Holsteins.”

Each of the DJM semifinalists and YDJM finalists completed an entry book, detailing their Junior Holstein project work, involvement with their cattle, program participation, and school and community activities.

The twelve DJM semifinalists will interview at the National Holstein Convention, June 29-July 3, 2018 in Acme, Mich. Six finalists and YDJM finalists will be recognized at the convention at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa.

Established in 1922, this contest is the longest running Holstein youth program and acknowledges the commitment to the Holstein breed and involvement in a variety of agriculture related activities., are announced.