National Dairy Shrine

National Dairy Shrine (NDS) is pleased to announce the winners of the Guest of Honor, Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder, Pioneer, Progressive Commercial Dairy Manager and Graduate Dairy Production awards for this year. These awards were designed to honor past, present and future dairy industry leaders that have contributed to strengthening and energizing the dairy industry.

Richard Denier is the Guest of Honor, the highest recognition from the National Dairy Shrine. This award goes to an individual that has had a dramatic impact on the dairy industry and its future. Richard Denier, the former General Manager of World Wide Sires has had a preeminent role in the genetics industry and the international export of US Dairy Genetics. During his nearly 30 year association with World Wide Sires the company has grown into one of the largest exporters of livestock genetics in the world. Rich has served the industry in many roles and shared his passion for dairy with numerous foreign and domestic groups. Mr. Denier has served leadership roles with the National Dairy Shrine as President in 2001 and with the California FFA Foundation. Richard Denier has also served on several committees for his alma mater Cal Poly. Rich is well known for his philanthropic aid and the beneficiaries include California FFA, Boys and Girls Club, Cal Poly and the National Dairy Shrine. Mr. Denier still remains very active in the family dairy operated with his brother Fred at Galt, California. Richard Denier helped to shape the international export of dairy genetics around the world with his leadership and vision.

The NDS Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder is Bearl and Joanne Seals, Sun Valley Jerseys, Cloverdale, Oregon. Their outstanding Jersey herd consists of over 900 milking animals with impressive type and production. The American Jersey Association has ranked several of the females and males from the farm in the top of the breed for JPI (Jersey Performance Index). Sun Valley Jerseys have sent numerous bulls to A.I. studs and have consigned numerous females to breed promotion sales that were purchased by many breeders across the country. Bearle Seals has served on the American Jersey Cattle Association board for two terms and as Vice President of AJCA as well as serving on the Jersey Research Foundation Committee. Mr. Seals also served the Tillamook Cooperative Creamery as a board of director and the local DHIA Board. Bearle is currently serving as the Chair of the Tillamook County Farm Service Agency. The Seals and their Sun Valley Jerseys were previously recognized with the Master Breeder Award from the American Jersey Cattle Association.

Through an anonymous selection committee, Horace Backus, Earl Kehrmeyer, David Kjome, Ray Kuehl and Dr George Shook have been selected as National Dairy Shrine Pioneers. This year's honorees will enter the National Dairy Hall of Fame and are an exemplary display of what this award is about.

Horace Backus, Mexico, New York is the most respected Holstein pedigree expert in the United States. Horace has been involved in the pedigree and sales business for over 60 years and has traveled the country in his sales work. He has been very active in numerous organizations like the Oswego County & New York Holstein Associations and served several terms on the National Holstein Association Board of Directors with leadership roles on the Audit & Finance Committee. He has published ten historical books on the development of the Holstein breed. Horace has been awarded an honorary Klussendorf Award, the New York Holstein Distinguished Service award, the Holstein Association USA Distinguished Leadership award and has a YDLI scholarship fund named after him at the Holstein Foundation. Mr. Backus's council and wisdom are actively sought by breeders all over the United States.

Earl Kehrmeyer, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin served as a dairy export marketing manager for American Breeders Service and World Wide Sires. He was responsible for the marketing of dairy genetics in numerous countries particularly in Europe and has developed lifetime friendships with dairy leaders from around the world. For nearly 40 years he spent weeks abroad promoting the export of genetics and providing advice on how to grow the dairy industry in developing countries. His leadership in providing AI breeding training to numerous foreign students has had a tremendous impact on the dairy world. Earl has also served his community with local 4-H clubs, FFA organizations, Wisconsin Holstein Association, St. Andrews Catholic Church, National Dairy Shrine and Dodge County Committees.

David Kjome, Rochester, Minnesota is a true pioneer in dairy extension. David started his career working as a 4-H youth agent in Iowa and then spent 5 years as an American Guernsey Association fieldman and 5 years as an AI sire analyst for Tri-State Breeders. In 1970 he started working for the University of Minnesota Extension Service He spent the next 30 years helping dairymen first in Winona county and then Olmstead county in Minnesota. Mr. Kjome was highly sought after for his ability to educate and inspire both dairy youth and their parents. Dave was also a highly successful dairy judge serving as an official judge at World Dairy Expo 3 times, also judging shows in Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand as well as numerous shows throughout the Midwest. Mr. Kjome has been honored with numerous awards from the Minnesota Extension Service as well as from the Guernsey Association. Dave has been very active in local Rochester service groups as well as his church.

Ray Kuehl, Waunakee, Wisconsin has been a leader in numerous dairy organizations in his native Wisconsin as well as nationally. Ray started his career as a dairy farmer and then quickly became involved in management roles as a dairy genetics consultant to Willard Nehls and then later with the National Holstein Association as a classifier and working internationally in the sire development service. Later he served as the manager and part owner of American Genetics. Lately Mr. Kuehl has been involved as a real estate agent and auctioneer. Ray's leadership roles include; Wisconsin Holstein Association State President, Wisconsin Auctioneers Association President, Wisconsin Agribusiness Council President, Wisconsin Purebred Dairy Cattle Association, Chairman of the Dairy Cattle Committee at World Dairy Expo for 12 years, and Dairy Cattle Superintendent at the Wisconsin State Fair for 25 years. Ray is also very involved in the local Waunakee Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, and American Legion. Mr. Kuehl was an accomplished dairy judge officiating at 16 shows in 13 foreign countries, Guernsey Judge at World Dairy Expo, associate judge at three National Holstein shows and numerous local shows working with dairy youth..

Dr. George Shook, Middleton, Wisconsin has been an outstanding professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison for 30 years. His research in dairy genetics has been very beneficial to dairyman around the world. Dr. Shook worked diligently advancing the use of National Dairy Herd Improvement records for genetic and practical purposes. He was also at the forefront of genetic research on somatic cell testing which is now commonly done all over the world. Dr. Shook has tirelessly served on dozens of boards and committees at the University, University Extension Service and with the American Dairy Science Association. George served six years as Chairman of the Department of Dairy Science at UW-Madison shaping the future of the department. Dr Shook has been honored with the Outstanding Service Award from National DHIA, the Research Award from NAAB, the Lush Animal Breeding Research Award, Purina Mills Teaching Award and Fellow Award from ADSA, and the Distinguished Dairy Science Alumni Award from his alma mater Penn State University.

The NDS Progressive Commercial Dairy Managers Grant honoree is Neil Rejman of Scipio Center, New York. This grant is a $2000 travel stipend to attend an out of state conference or seminar to learn new techniques to improve their dairy business.

Neil Rejman is manager of the cows, heifers and feeding at Sunnyside Farms, Inc a 4200 cow operation in central New York. Neil also oversees the business and financial activities at the dairy. Additionally, Sunnyside Farms is part of a 21 member marketing organization that operates a milk processing plant at Auburn, New York. Neil currently serves as Vice Chair of the Cayuga Milk Ingredients organization. Mr. Rejman has also been very active in NEDPA serving as Chair and Vice Chair, the New York Farm Bureau, National Milk Producers Federation committees and advisory committees for Cornell University. Sunnyside Farms utilizes a 100 stall rotary parlor and an anaerobic manure digester. The management philosophy of the dairy includes the emphasis on the core values of excellence, respect, integrity, work ethic, candor and humility. Mr. Rejman also finds time to mentor and help the local high school FFA chapter and serve on his church ministry committee.

Jessica Tekippe of Fort Atkinson, Iowa has been selected as the Graduate Dairy Production Grant winner. This $2500 grant sponsored by Elanco goes to an active dairyman who has graduated from college in the last nine years and has already demonstrated excellent dairy management ability and financial stability. Jessica was involved in numerous dairy activities while getting her degree in Dairy Science from Iowa State University. She served as President of the Student Affiliate Division of ADSA in 2007-2008. She accomplished several internships including mentoring a local FFA chapter during one summer and as a sales intern at Farmers Cooperative Company where she was able to do on farm consulting with dairymen. Her college career also included trips to New Zealand and Costa Rica. She then received a Master Degree at Penn State University and has a started a career as a dairy nutritionist. After getting married in 2011 she and her husband have started an 80 cow herd in Fort Atkinson. Jessica has also served as the National Ayrshire Princess and Iowa Dairy Princess. She currently serves on several boards including the National Milk Producers Federation Young Cooperator Board and the National Dairy Research and Promotion Board. Jessica has also found the time to work with youth dairy groups and loves to give back to the industry.

The annual National Dairy Shrine Awards Banquet will be held on Thursday October 6 in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information about the banquet or about students, producers or industry representatives being recognized by National Dairy Shrine, please contact Dr. David Selner, Executive Director, at Information on the National Dairy Shrine mission or membership is also available online at Dairy enthusiasts are encouraged to become a part of the most important national organization honoring dairy leaders, saving our dairy heritage, and inspiring future dairy leaders.

Return to Industry Buzz.