Holstein Association USA is excited to announce the 2012 Distinguished Junior Member (DJM) semifinalists. The Distinguished Junior Member award is the highest honor given to members of the National Junior Association, ages 17 to 21, in recognition of a lifetime of commitment to the Holstein breed and involvement in a variety of activities.

This year's semifinalists are: Jacob Achen, St. Paul, Minn.; Kirsten Beaudry, Walpole, N.H.; Sara Bechtel, Martinsburg, Pa.; Amelia Cooper, Deforest, Wis.; Sean Galley, Garrattsville, N.Y.; Matt Henkes, Luana, Iowa; Tera Koebel, Three Oaks, Mich.; Stephanie Nagel, Valders, Wis.; Kyle Natzke, Fond du Lac, Wis.; Mandi Ramsburg, Walkersville, Md.; Nathan Ulmer, Bellefonte, Pa.; and Corbin Wood, Littlestown, Pa.

Each of the semifinalists completed an entry book, detailing their Junior Holstein project work, involvement with their cattle, program participation, and school and community activities.

"From school to showing, growing up on a dairy farm has involved me in my surroundings. I have had the opportunity to know where much of my food comes from and how it is made, as well as the ability to push myself to do better in many aspects," said Kirsten Beaudry, in her Junior Holstein Project story. "Through my time with Junior Holstein and 4-H, I have grown more confident in myself as a person and more engaged in the world around me, and I hope to continue to share my experiences with people around me."

"Being active in the Junior Holstein Association has benefited me in so many ways. Through this organization, I have gained a lot of knowledge, as well as experience and friendships that will last a lifetime," said Kyle Natzke. "I am very fortunate to have learned so much about the dairy industry at a young age. This is a huge part of my life, and I would like it to stay for a long time to come."

The twelve semifinalists will interview at the National Holstein Convention, June 27-30 in Springfield, Mo., to be named one of six finalists. Finalists receive annual renewed memberships to Holstein Association USA. All Junior Holstein members, ages 17 to 21 are eligible to apply for the Distinguished Junior Member recognition. For more information about DJM or other Holstein youth programs, visit www.holsteinusa.com/juniors, or contact Kelli Dunklee at 800.952.5200, ext. 4124, or kdunklee@holstein.com.

DJM Semi-finalists