At the 2014 National Holstein Convention held in Dubuque, Iowa, June 24 through 28, Holstein Association USA proudly recognized influential breeders and farms for their contributions to the Holstein breed. Greg Andersen, Robthom Holsteins and Marlowe Nelson were all recognized at the closing banquet on June 28.
Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder
Greg Andersen of Seagull Bay Dairy, Inc. in American Falls, Idaho, was honored as Holstein Association USA's 2014 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder. This award is given annually to a Holstein Association USA member or partnership between the ages of 21 and 40. It recognizes the significant accomplishments of young Registered Holstein® breeders, and their commitment to preserving the dairy industry and achieving excellence in their daily lives. Honorees receive paid travel and lodging expenses to the National Holstein Convention and a $2,000 cash award.
Seagull Bay is milking over 600 cows four times a day in a double-12-herringbone parlor. Their rolling herd average is 25,794 pounds of milk, with 1,041 pounds of fat and 822 pounds of protein. They participate in many Holstein programs, including Holstein COMPLETESM. The herd classifies on a regular basis and currently has a BAA of 107.5 with five Excellent cows, 26 scored Very Good, and 19 Good Plus.
The farm has received Progressive Breeders Registry honors eight years and awarded the Progressive Genetic Herd award seven years. They have two cows who have earned Gold Medal Dam recognition, ten Dams of Merit, 20 cows on the current Locator List, and have contracted 39 bulls to AI.
"Efficient production from a healthy herd," is the goal at Seagull Bay Dairy. "High producing cows are almost always the most efficient producers as long as they have adequate fitness characteristics as well," Andersen said. His ideal cow is of moderate stature, with a quality udder and the ability to produce over 1,800 pounds combined fat and protein. Through disciplined breeding for both production and health traits, they are creating a high producing herd that is also robust and durable.
Andersen finds great satisfaction in volunteering in his community, and annually leases heifers to local youth to work with and show. He has also served as leader of the local Dairy and Swine 4-H club, volunteers for Boy Scouts of America, served on the board of the Idaho Dairyman's Association and is involved with the Idaho State Holstein Association. Greg and his wife, Gwen, have five children: Lydia, Wyatt, Amy, Dallin and Corbin.
Elite Breeder Honoree
Recognized as the 2014 Elite Breeder Honoree was Robthom Holsteins of Springfield, Mo. The Elite Breeder award annually honors a Holstein Association USA member or partnership who has bred quality Registered Holstein cattle, contributing to the overall improved quality of the breed.
Robthom Holsteins is currently operated by Janice Ling, her son, Eric, daughter, Monica, mother, Marianna Thomson, and brother, Mark Thomson. There have been 6,458 animals to bear the Robthom prefix; of those, 285 are classified Excellent, with one at EX-96, 2 more at EX-95, and 11 at EX-94. Their current BAA is 109.2, with 40 cows scored Excellent and 95 Very Good, ranking them first in the country last year for herds with 151-200 cows.
Sixty-two cows bred by Robthom have produced over 200,000 pounds of lifetime milk, with one over 300,000. They also bred a former number one cow for most milk produced in a single lactation, Robthom Suzet Paddy, who was classified EX-95, and made a five-year-old record of 59,300 pounds of milk, with 2,297 pounds of fat and 1,925 pounds of protein in 365 days. Paddy can be traced back to Janice's father, Bud's, first heifer, Robthom Bess Segis.To date, 80 Dams of Merit, 111 Gold Medal Dams and 11 Gold Medal Sires carry the farm's prefix.
Robthom has sent over 40 bulls into A.I., with two producing over one million units of semen in their careers. Robthom Integrity, a son of the popular To-Mar Blackstar, out of Robthom Ivory Mark, classified EX-96, and was named a Gold Medal Sire. To date, Integrity has sired almost 90,000 cows in over 21,000 herds, including two-time World Dairy Expo Grand Champion, Vandyk-K Integrity Paradise.
The other millionaire sire is Robthom Moscow, a son of Mara-Thon BW Marshall-ET, out of Robthom Georgia Integrity, an EX-92 Gold Medal Dam and Dam of Merit. His exceptional health traits and ability to consistently transmit quality udders and feet and legs made him a popular sire, and was eventually named a Gold Medal Sire, and classified EX-94.
"Robthom Farm has greatly elevated Missouri Holsteins, and Holsteins nationwide," said Holstein historian and writer John Underwood. "The true measure of elite herds is whether or not their genetics are making a difference around the world; Robthom Farm has certainly made a difference."
Distinguished Leadership Award
Marlowe Nelson of Viroqua, Wis., was presented the 2014 Distinguished Leadership award. This award is given annually to an individual who has provided outstanding and unselfish leadership to the Holstein Association, or dairy industry as a whole.
Nelson received his bachelor's degree in agriculture education from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, then a master's degree in dairy science from Michigan State University. Shortly after, he was drafted into the Korean War. While stationed in northern Japan, Nelson befriended a Japanese dairy farming family, and that relationship remained even after he returned to the U.S.
Through his connections, he coordinated more than 100 Japanese trainees that came to Wisconsin to work on prominent Registered Holstein farms such as Pabst, Lakeside, Crescent Beauty, Gray View, Crescentmead, Indianhead and Bristol Farms.The contacts developed also led to the export of premier Holstein genetics from top herds around the U.S. to Japan. These relationships not only facilitated export to Japan, but Germany, France and Holland as well.
Nelson worked for eleven years with Tri-State Breeders, now Accelerated Genetics, as a sire analyst and sire procurement specialist. A few of his bull contracts included Harborcrest Happy Crusader, Provin Mountain Ivanhoe Jewel, Hagemans Tempo and Sunnyside Standout.
After leaving Tri-State Breeders, he spent 35 years with Alvin Piper's International Holsteins organization, as a pedigree expert in the sale box, ring man, and purchased cattle over the phone for other young dairy farmers. In 1990, he started International Protein Sires with Alvin Piper, exporting semen around the globe, and sold the established business in 2000.
Nelson's influence in the international Holstein arena, AI industry, his civic and community involvement, and his mentorship of great Holstein breeders is a legacy in itself. His generosity will continue to yield benefits for generations to come. And his gentle laugh reminds us all that Marlowe Nelson is not only a great leader, but a genuinely great person.
See the Summer 2014 Holstein Pulse for more coverage of these honorees, and the 2014 National Holstein Convention, or visit www.youtube.com/HolsteinUSA to view videos of the award presentations. For more information about Holstein Association USA's annual awards, visit www.holsteinusa.com and click on Awards, then Individuals, in the main menu. With questions, contact Rachel Pomeroy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.952.5200, ext. 4165.