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SHEBOYGAN - Allie Breunig and Zach Tolzman have been chosen as the top members of the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association.

The college juniors were selected as the Outstanding Holstein Boy and Outstanding Holstein Girl during the 2019 Wisconsin Junior Holstein Convention, hosted by Sheboygan County, at the Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, Jan. 4-6.

Throughout the week, several awards are presented to members for their hard work, but Outstanding Holstein Boy and Girl is awarded to the top Distinguished Junior Member, or DJM, based on their application, written responses to personal questions and an in-person interview.

As per tradition, last year's Outstanding Holstein Boy, Joseph Opsal, introduced Breunig as the 2018 Outstanding Holstein Girl. Breunig, 20, is the daughter of Mitch and Jacquie Breunig, of Sauk City, Wisconsin.

As Opsal read Breuniig's list of accomplishments, the UW-Madison student sat in the audience,her beaming face mirroring the same expression that her father wore as he sat among the crowd of parents and guests in the ballroom.

"Being raised on a dairy farm has been the biggest blessing that my parents have given me,” she said, speaking of they family farm Mystic Valley Dairy, where 460 Jenny-Lou Registered Holsteins live—most notably, the birthplace of Jenny-Lou Marshall Toystory.

Breunig’s first taste of the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association was through the Dairy Jeopardy and Dairy Bowl contests. Studying acronyms, reproduction physiology, judging scorecards, diseases and so much more, Breunig was determined to shine in each contest.

In 2015, she qualified to compete at the National Holstein Convention in Dairy Jeopardy, placing fifth and in 2016 she competed in the National Dairy Bowl contest among some extremely knowledgeable young dairymen and women. Like many of her peers, Breunig takes great pride in exhibiting cattle at local, district, state and national shows.

However, she says her favorite experience of her Junior Holstein career was being crowned the 2018 Wisconsin Holstein Association Princess. The experience has enabled her to travel across the state of Wisconsin promoting the Registered Black and White Holstein as well as sharing the importance of dairy in a healthy diet.

"The network of dairy industry professionals and farmers alike is second to none, and I feel blessed to have met some people who are just as passionate about the black and white cows as myself from all over our proud Dairy State,” she said.

Breunig is currently studying Life Sciences Communication with a certificate in Agricultural Business Management. On campus she’s actively involved in a number of clubs and organizations, particularly Badger Dairy Club, Association of Women in Agriculture and National Agri-Marketing Association.

After graduation Breunig hopes to find a career that allows her to tell the story of agriculture, promoting farmers and their practices to consumers reversing fear marketing that has misconstrued the mindsets of many.

Additionally, Breunig says she’ll continue to stay active with Registered Holstein cattle and the Wisconsin Holstein Association.

“It is my hope to carry on my family’s traditions of being agricultural advocates and Registered Holstein enthusiasts,” Breunig says.

Outstanding Holstein Boy

Carley Krull, last year's Outstanding Holstein Girl had the pleasure of standing at the podium to describe Zach Tolzman, the 2018 Outstanding Holstein Boy. Tolzman, 20, is the son of Denise and Scott Tolzman of Dodgeville.

Krull drew laughter from the crowd as she described the young Iowa County dairy enthusiast, sharing anecdotes of his unforgettable personality known to many who interact with him. From his undeniable love of fishing and dairy cattle to his many comedic scenes at Junior Holstein Convention, all who know Tolzman agree that his sense of humor reaches far past the hotel walls of the convention.

Tolzman says his love for the Holstein cow almost never happened, as he did not grow up on a farm. A family friend asked Tolzman and his older sister, Carissa, to help out with calf chores, opening the door for them to learn about dairy cattle. They soon came to love the beautiful black and white Holsteins.

Tolzman soon found himself exhibiting cattle at the Lafayette County Fair, meeting lifelong friends and making memories. After a short hiatus from the dairy project, Tolzman immersed himself into the Iowa County Junior Holstein Association, competing in Dairy Bowl at convention. This activity rejuvenated his drive to remain involved in the dairy industry.

Tolzman credits the late Jeff Doornik for much of his success within the industry. He recalls a time when Doornik gave him helpful tips to become a better cattle fitter.

“He was able to explain things in a way that made sense to me,” he said.

Since those days, Tolzman has worked with cattle at Bert-Mar Farms in Osseo, Budjon Farms of Lomira, and Stone-Front Farms of Lancaster.

“Had I never met Jeff, I would not be in the dairy industry or be able to work with the great show cows I do today,” he says.

Tolzman is currently studying Dairy Science and Agribusiness at UW-Platteville. On campus he is an active member of Pioneer Dairy Club, where he most recently served as a chairman for the annual fall sale, Pioneer Dairy Classic. Additionally, he is a member of the dairy judging team and serves as the Activities Coordinator.

After graduation, Tolzman hopes to continue working with high type dairy cattle. Ultimately, he intends to return to school and study for a career in the dairy genetics field.

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