Oct. 2 2014 11:45 AM

The dairy industry honors its leaders.

The National Dairy Shrine annual banquet will be held at World Dairy Expo on Thursday, October 2, after a year hiatus when the banquet was held in Harrisburg last year to celebrate the All-American Dairy Show's 50th anniversary. Hundreds of dairy producers, industry representatives and students will attend the banquet to honor leaders and recognize students with over $40,000 in scholarships. All of the evening's honorees are included in this visual presentation.

The Guest of Honor is Bernie Heisner. His dedication and passion for the dairy industry is undoubtedly the youth, spending countless hours encouraging, teaching, advising and mentoring young people. He was also involved with dairy judging programs in Ohio and Illinois. "His leadership, perspective and commitment to National Dairy Shrine have been both as a leader and behind the scenes supporter," says Bonnie Ayars, past NDS board member and dairy program assistant at The Ohio State University. Learn more about Bernie's contributions in this Hoard's Dairyman article. Watch the video of all the Guests of Honor since 1949.

The Paul Chittenden Family, Schodack Landing, N.Y., will be honored as the Distinguished Cattle Breeder for 2014. Dutch Hollow Farm is owned by brothers Brian, Alan and Nathan Chittenden and their parents, Paul and Melanie. The Dutch Hollow herd consists of 668 registered Jerseys and just under 500 replacement heifers. They have placed over 90 bulls in A.I. service over the past four decades. A video with all of the past Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeders since 1973 is found here.

National Dairy Shrine honors five individuals who have left their mark on our industry and improved it for future generations.
  • Alton Block served as Wisconsin's very first dairy extension specialist.

  • David Gibson, as executive secretary for the Ayrshire Breeders' Association, became one of the first to recognize the importance of young sire sampling.

  • Pete Knigge was the first to install a robotic milking system in the United States.

  • Marlowe Nelson built international dairy bridges by developing a training program for Japanese men to work on dairies, which has been emulated by other countries.

  • Russell Wirt, provided leadership to both Guernsey and Holstein associations, as well as a youth leader. His Holstein herd has a herd average of over 30,000 pounds of milk.

The article discussing the pioneers' industry contributions is found here. Tour history with all of the past pioneers since 1950 video.

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The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.