Wisconsin dairyman wins A.C. "Whitle" Thomson Memorial Award

Wisconsin State Farmer

A trio of elite dairymen were recognized during the 2018 World Dairy Expo, including Mike Holschbach of Wisconsin.

Dairyman Mike Holschbach of Heatherstone Enterprises, Baraboo, is honored at World Dairy Expo as the recipeient of the  2018 A.C. “Whitie” Thomson Memorial Award.

The 2018 A.C. “Whitie” Thomson Memorial Award was awarded to Holschbach of Heatherstone Enterprises in Baraboo.  The award honors a herdsman or showman who exhibits exemplary leadership and sportsmanship throughout the show.

Holschbach has spent his life involved in the Holstein industry. Growing up on an internationally recognized farm, where his father was the herd manager, Holschbach had the opportunity to work with some of the finest Holsteins in the breed.

As a youth, he won national dairy judging titles in 4-H, FFA and Intercollegiate contests. In 1981, he became an accredited judge and since then, has judged shows across the United States as well as Europe, Mexico and Brazil. Holschbach has served as his county’s dairy judging coach for more than 15 years and was honored to have two state championship teams.

Holschbach worked his way through school by fitting cattle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Dairy Science. In 1977, he was recognized as Wisconsin’s Outstanding Holstein Youth and runner-up for the National Dairy Shrine Student Recognition Award. Upon graduation from UW-Madison, he became an associate with Alvin R Piper at International Holstein Sales and Services in Lake Mills, Wis.

With a desire to breed and develop their own high quality Holsteins, he and his wife returned to and eventually purchased her family’s dairy farm operation, Heatherstone Enterprises in Baraboo, Wis. Heatherstone hosted the first annual Sauk County June Dairy Month Breakfast, two PDCA judging conferences, the Wisconsin Holstein Centennial Picnic and the National Holstein Convention Sale as well as many annual tours. In 1997, they were honored with the Wisconsin Distinguished Youth Holstein Breeder Award.

Holschbach served on the Board of Directors at World Dairy Expo for nearly 20 years, served as President of the Board of Directors from 2008 to 2015 and has attended World Dairy Expo all 52 years.

Klussendorf Award

Adam Liddle of Arygle, N.Y., was named the 77th winner of the Klussendorf Award, the highest recognition given to a dairy cattle showman in the United States during the 52nd World Dairy Expo.

Liddle is a self-made man who worked hard to learn from others and eventually built up enough equity to rent, and then buy, his own dairy farm. Throughout that journey, he eventually started an eight-year run in which he either bred or owned an All American nominee each and every year. 

Adam Liddle

This year’s winner learned early on the value of great cow families when he spent his teenage years working with his family at Pamtom Farm in Hudson Falls, New York. During that time span, the farm garnered two Premier Exhibitor banners at World Dairy Expo. From that foundation, Liddle went on to work for Ridgedale Farm in Sharon Springs, New York, where he had the opportunity to work with great cows and gained an even deeper appreciation for deep cow families.

By 1999, Liddle branched out on his own with a rented facility that he and his wife purchased just three years later. Within the next decade, Liddle developed an impressive herd. His diligence not only earned him the New York Holstein Association’s Outstanding Young Breeder Award in 2007, it also led to a highly successful sale the very next year.

That Liddleholme Farm dispersal averaged $7,573 on 179 lots for a total gross of $1.2 million. Award nominators Wayne Conard and Steve Briggs state, “It will go down in history as one of the greatest herd sales in New York state history.” Cattle were sold to 17 states and two Canadian provinces.

Klussendorf-MacKenzie Award

Ayrshire breeder Evan Creek of Hagerstown, Md., was presented the 28th Klussendorf-MacKenzie Award in memory of Duncan MacKenzie, the 1961 Klussendorf winner.

Creek started out his career by developing a firm foundation through 4-H and FFA and bred and owned many junior and open All-American nominees. He also has bred numerous sires that have successfully influenced the breed through their active service in A.I. programs. One of those bulls is the reigning Premier Sire of both the heifer and cow show at World Dairy Expo, having earned that title for the fifth consecutive year at this year’s show. That bull is Palmyra Tri-Star Burdette-ET.

Evan Creek

That’s not all. Nearly everyone will recognize his homebred cow – Palmyra Berkely P Ruth-ET – who successfully defended her 2017 title as Grand Champion of the International Ayrshire Show at World Dairy Expo earlier in the week. Ruth, along with her herdmates, gave Palymra Farms of Hagerstown, Md., both the 2018 WDE Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor banner to Evan Creek and his family.

While Evan has an impressive dairy résumé, it’s most important to note that he exemplifies the standards that made Duncan MacKenzie the forbearer of this award.