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Holstein Association USA named six National Distinguished Junior Member (DJM) finalists on June 23, 2021, during the National Junior Holstein Convention Awards Banquet in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The highest honor presented to a Junior Holstein Member, the recognition is based on the top-notch work recipients demonstrated throughout their dairy project career.

The contest began in 1922 and is the longest running Holstein youth program. Applicants must be between the ages of 17 to 21, demonstrate a lifetime of commitment to the Holstein breed, and showcase involvement in a variety of activities.

The 2021 DJM finalists are Hayley Fernandes, California; Josh Gerbitz, Wisconsin; Gregory Norris, Massachusetts; Benjamin Kronberg, Wisconsin; Laura Littrell, New York; and Rachel Rouland, New York.

DJM judging is a two-part process. Youth members competing put together a book highlighting their Junior Holstein work, activities and projects, breeding program, and personal views. The Junior’s entry book is worth 60 percent of the final score, and the top 12 individuals are named DJM Semifinalists based on their book score.

Phase two of the contest takes place at National Junior Holstein Convention, where the semifinalists are interviewed by a committee of judges. The interview is worth 40 percent of the final score, and the six individuals with the highest combined scores are named DJM finalists. The six finalists also receive an annual renewed Holstein Association USA membership.

“The judges shared that they were impressed by the talent of the contestants,” says Kelli Dunklee, Holstein Association USA Youth Program Specialist. “We are eager to see the career paths these young Holstein enthusiasts choose and the mentors they become in the future.”

Young Distinguished Junior Member Finalists

Eight individuals between the ages of nine to 16 were selected as Young Distinguished Junior Member (YDJM) finalists. The YDJM finalists were also recognized during the Junior Awards Banquet in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. YDJM applicants create books similar to the DJM finalists, but do not compete in an interview phase.

The 2021 Young Distinguished Junior Member Semifinalists are Ashley Brandel, Wisconsin; Magen Busker, Illinois; Hayley Daubert, Virginia; Ava Endres, Wisconsin; Elizabeth Lentz, Pennsylvania; Austin Meyer, Wisconsin; Garrett Ulness, Wisconsin; and F. Hayden Weaver; Pennsylvania.

For more information about Holstein Association USA’s youth programs visit