National Dairy Shrine will name our very own Steven Larson the 2011 Guest of Honor. The Guest of Honor is the highest award from the National Dairy Shrine. This award goes to an individual who has had a dramatic impact on the dairy industry and its future. Steven Larson serves as managing editor of Hoard's Dairyman and helped establish dairy policy through his written editorials on national and international dairy policy, milk marketing, dairy product promotion, feeding and nutrition, and mastitis and herd health. He is a well respected and recognized individual whose positive impact on the dairy industry cannot be overstated.

The NDS Distinguished Dairy Cattle breeder is William H. Peck from Schuylerville, N.Y., who is shown in the photo to the right with son Bill at the left. Peck's farm Welcome Stock has national and international recognition in producing quality and sought-after cattle. Welcome Stock Farm is quite unique among North American dairy herds as they bred not one, but two number one index bulls. While that may not be unique in itself, the fact those bulls were in two different breeds is certainly record setting. Welcome Choice Admiral, a once breed leading Guernsey, had some 2,500 daughters in his USDA sire evaluation. Exactly two decades later, a Holstein, Welcome Garter-ET, topped the breed's index chart. In all, Garter has over 32,000 daughters in his evaluation. Peck has also served on several New York and national boards and committees, such as Holstein Association USA Board of Directors and New York State Agricultural Society Member and Director. He has shown great leadership abilities and the insight to use innovative breeding ideas.

Through an anonymous selection committee, David Dickson, Craig Beane, Norman Olson, Harold Schmidt, and Peter Van Soest were selected as National Dairy Shrine Pioneers. This year's honorees are an exemplary display of what this award is about. Dr. David Dickson was a pioneering professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, using dairy cattle judging techniques to teach lifelong skills in communication. Craig Beane, Fort Atkinson, Wis., was a leader to farmers in employing a better record system, an advocate for herd testing, and a leader in the farm credit system. Norman Olson had an illustrious 38-year career of research in cheese technology and teaching in Food Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The numerous awards he has received attest to the scope and importance of his work. Dr. Harold Schmidt is a veterinarian who has had a fantastic influence on Holstein genetics and his involvement in the A.I. business by creating Genetics, Inc., in California. Dr. Peter Van Soest, Cornell University, is recognized worldwide for his study in animal feeds and nutrition and their importance in animal performance. Dr. Van Soest developed the detergent fiber analysis system that is still being utilized worldwide by dairy nutritionists.

The NDS Progressive Dairy Producers selected for this year are Charles Krause in the small herd division and Martin Burken in the large herd division. This award is a $2,000 travel stipend to attend a conference or seminar to learn new techniques to improve their dairy business. Krause and his wife, Robyn, have an excellent herd of 165 Holsteins in Buffalo, Minn., and is very involved in the dairy community. Charles often serves as a spokesperson on dairy issues for media outlets in the Twin Cities. Burken, operates Blue Hyll Dairy LLC. Clinton, Iowa. With his wife, Lisa, and family they milk 774 cows. Mr. Burken has been very active in Swiss Valley Cooperative, county DHIA boards, dairy promotion activities, Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology (AFACT) and his local church.

Joel Krall Lebanon, Pa., has been selected as the graduate Dairy Production award winner. This award goes to an active dairyman who has graduated from college within the last nine years and has already demonstrated excellent dairy management ability and financial stability. Joel, his wife Christine and partner Tim Crouse operate Furnace Hill Holsteins. Joel will receive a $2500 award sponsored by Elanco to be used toward the purchase of cattle to improve his herd.

The annual National Dairy Shrine awards banquet will be held on October 6 during World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. For more information about the banquet or about students, producers, and industry representatives being recognized by National Dairy Shrine, please contact Dr. David Selner, Executive Director, at (920) 863-6333. National Dairy Shrine membership information is also available by phone or online at Dairy enthusiasts are encouraged to become a part of this important organization to help honor our heritage, inspire future leaders, and promote the dairy industry.