Holstein Association USA was pleased to honor several Registered Holstein® breeders and stand-out leaders in the industry with their coveted Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder, Elite Breeder and Distinguished Leadership Awards. They unveiled these recipients at their annual National Holstein Convention Awards Banquet on July 1 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder Joe Loehr, WI
As a father of five young children, this year's Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder award winner Joe Loehr of Mount Calvary, Wis., is dedicated to progressing his family's farm, Loehr Dairy, LLC, while being actively involved in his community and developing a solid, sustainable foundation for his family.
Through the years, Joe has invested in animals, while working towards a partnership with his parents, Norman and Rosie, and two of his brothers, Mark and Dan. In 1996, that partnership came to fruition. Since then, Loehr Dairy has grown from 100 to 400 milk cows and with the use of genomics, Joe continues to actively purchase animals to add genetic potential to their herd.
The elite Registered Holstein herd carrying the prefix "Holyland" has been gaining interest. Joe looks forward to developing elite bloodlines to ensure his young family's future, for wife, Gina, their children, Sophia, 8, Isaac, 6, Lucia, 5, Gianna, 3, and Anthony, 1.
Joe and his family utilize the following Holstein Association USA programs to assist with developing their genetic herd: Holstein COMPLETE, EASY ID, Sire Summaries and TriStarSM. He also credits the use of genomic data in dairy cattle evaluation in developing their herd into a more uniform group of very well balanced cows that possess the traits needed to become more profitable Holstein cows. Loehr Dairy currently has a rolling herd average of 26,613 pounds of milk with 1,057 pounds of fat and 879 pounds of protein on three time a day milking.
Elite Breeder Award Harvue Farms, David & Debbie Hardesty, VA
The 2016 Elite Breeder award recipient was David & Debbie Hardesty of Harvue Farms in Berryville, Va. Now in its fourth generation of family ownership, the Hardesty family is truly defining balanced breeding with a philosophy that has been grounded in balancing type and production.
Family has always come first at Harvue and the enthusiasm for Registered Holsteins began with David's grandfather, John O. Hardesty, and his father, Jack Hardesty. Jack passed that enthusiasm and dedication to developing great genetics to David, a passion grew through the years and drove him to take an active role in herd management while pursuing a Dairy Science degree at Virginia Tech. In 1982, David returned to the family farm to follow in his father's footsteps.
Today, David and his wife, Debbie, and their family are carrying on that tradition and taking their herd to the next level. Other family members involved with the Harvue success include their son, Matt and his wife, Ashley and their son, James (4 months); their son Dan and his wife, Mary, and their two children, Henry (5) and Heidi (3); their daughter, Leslie and her husband, Cody, and their youngest son, Davey.
Over 400 Excellent cows have carried the Harvue prefix and eighteen cows with over 300,000 pounds of lifetime production have either been bred or developed by the herd. The rolling herd average on 365 cows is 27,149 pounds of milk and following the most recent classification, the herd was home to 96 Excellent cows, 191 scored Very Good, and 75 Good Plus cows. The Harvue prefix is also well known for their show winning genetics, with the most notable of their show winners being the two-time Supreme Champion at World Dairy Expo, Harvue Roy Frosty 3E-97.
David and Debbie and their family are committed to the Holstein and dairy communities. They have both served on the Virginia Holstein Association board of directors, both have been president of that association and were delegates to the National Holstein Convention. They are also 4-H leaders, who have provided calves for training and hours of encouragement to youth.
Distinguished Leadership Award Dick Witter, PA
Dick Witter, Mehoopany, Pa., was recognized with the 2016 Distinguished Leadership Award. He has a long-rooted history with Registered Holsteins and more specifically, the A.I. industry. After years of working in A.I., Dick partnered with Herb Steele and Paul Dann to form the corporation, Taurus Service, Inc. on July 15, 1971, with Dick serving as the sole operator and employee at the time.
In 1982, Taurus purchased a farm to build a new state of the art Taurus stud. This new facility, which was built using UK guidelines, also enabled Taurus to be the first to expand their market into the UK, as well as Italy, Germany, Holland, Switzerland and France. Today, Dick's son, John, who has been involved with the business almost since inception, serves as the Vice President of Operations for Taurus/ST, overseeing the production, exporting and distribution to representatives and dealers.
Dick has been the driving force behind the Taurus success since the beginning and leads with distinction and by example. He is driven by the goal of helping his customers breed the best, most profitable cows. Dick's contributions to the dairy and A.I. industry and his leadership ability have been recognized with numerous awards. In 2004, he was honored with the Pennsylvania Governors Agriculture Export Award and in 2014 the Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Award. Just last year, he received the Ayrshire Industry Service Award and the Friend of New York Holstein.
Along with being involved in many dairy industry activities, Dick has been a leader in his community and the American Legion for many years. While he is no longer President of Taurus/ST, he has taken a more active role on the farm and owns cattle in various partnerships. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his wife, Sharon, with whom he shares 20 years of marriage, her children Kimberly, Kenneth and Jason and his children, John and Ginny. Dick and Sharon have been blessed with eight grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Watch the Summer 2016 Holstein Pulse for more coverage of these honorees, and the rest of the 2016 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.