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Lucas and Alise Sjostrom of Brooten, Minn. have been selected as the Holstein Foundation’s 2023 Young Dairy Leaders Institute Distinguished Alumni Leader award recipients. The Holstein Foundation annually recognizes a Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI) graduate or couple who have made noteworthy contributions to the dairy industry, applying skills gained during their YDLI experience.

Lucas and Alise are Class 7 YDLI graduates who voice that “When thinking about transforming ourselves as people, YDLI stands out as a very life-changing event.”

Both Lucas and Alise agree YDLI gave them a different perspective of the dairy industry and taught them how to be effective advocates. Aside from the wealth of knowledge the couple took away from YDLI, they formed a multitude of lasting friendships and invaluable network connections.

“As we continued our careers, we realized taste and fun could be mixed in with sustainability,” they shared. Lucas and Alise strive to uphold this mission at their family's artisan cheese and whey spirits business, Redhead Creamery. They source the milk for their farmstead creamery from Jer-Lindy Farms, both owned in partnership with Alise’s parents, Jerry and Linda Jennissen.

Currently, Alise is the Owner and Head Cheesemaker at Redhead Creamery LLC, where she has produced over 50,000 pounds of artisan cheese per year using milk from Jer-Lindy Farms. At Redhead Creamery, she has a hand in everything from customer service to product development and marketing.

Lucas serves as Executive Director of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association at Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative. There he develops relationships with legislators, farmers, media, academia, and industry to simultaneously achieve the needs of two farmer-led organizations. He also heads Redhead Creamery's new whey distillery project.

Lucas and Alise have three children, Lucy, Henry, and Conan. Aside from their careers in the dairy industry they are active in many committees and foundations such as The League of Minnesota Cheesemakers, The U.S. Dairy Sustainability committee, The Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association, and The Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program.

Lucas and Alise will be honored during the upcoming YDLI Class 12 Phase III program being held February 14 – 17 in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Young Dairy Leaders Institute, a program of the Holstein Foundation, is a nationally recognized three-phase leadership and communication skills development program for young adults (ages 22-45) working in the dairy industry. For more information about YDLI or Holstein Foundation programs, visit or contact Jodi Hoynoski at 800.952.5200 ext. 4261 or by email.