May 14 2024 09:50 AM

    Lakeshore Technical College presented its Hoard’s Dairyman Award to a recent graduate.

    Pictured are Associate Dean of Applied Technology Justin Barrett, Hoard’s Dairyman Award recipient Erik Walters, and Dairy Herd and Agricultural Business Instructor Megan Kulow.

    It is graduation season for many universities and colleges, a time to recognize students for their accomplishments and achievements. I attended the Lakeshore Technical College annual gathering that was held on their beautiful campus in Cleveland in northeastern Wisconsin. It is an event I have attended nearly a dozen times and always enjoy the opportunity to learn about the students and where their lives are headed in this industry.

    Each graduating student received their plaque for completing the program from Megan Kulow, the second-year dairy herd and agricultural business instructor.

    Students recognized their internship farm as well as the dairy operations and veterinary clinics that opened their facilities to the students on a rotational basis throughout the year. The internship opportunities were not limited to dairy farms but included agri-businesses in the area as well.

    A highlight of the afternoon was the Hoard’s Dairyman Award presentation. The large plaque depicts the “Foster Mothers of the Human Race” painting. Each winner’s name is engraved on the award that hangs on the wall in the college’s dairy classroom. A smaller plaque is also presented to the winner. While there are numerous recognitions that students can receive inside and outside the classroom for various talents, the Hoard’s Dairyman Award is somewhat different. Only Lakeshore Technical College presents a Hoard’s Dairyman Award. The award is voted on by fellow students (not professors or administration) who apply a 1 to 10 score in the areas of character, academics, and community focus. Additionally, their involvement in class activities is considered.

    Front row: Maya Bicksler, Brianna Loof, Emily Stevens, and Alexis Hahn Back row: Justin Ossmann, Nathan Abel, Erik Walters, and Laura Birkholz

    The 2024 Hoard’s Dairyman Award was presented to Erik Walters. He grew up in Sheboygan Falls. His grandfather dispersed the Holstein herd in the 1980s, but Walters always considered himself a member of the dairy community — even without cows nearby. He spent four years in the military at Camp Pendleton in California and utilized the G.I. bill to continue his studies at Lakeshore Technical College when his service was complete.

    He enrolled at Lakeshore Technical College in the Dairy Herd Management program in 2023 and held an internship at A-OK Dairy in Sheboygan Falls. Now that Walters has graduated, he has been hired by the 450-cow dairy as an assistant herdsman and will also care for the calves.

    “The best job one can have is working on a farm,” shared Walters as he looks forward to securely planting himself in the dairy industry.

    From the Hoard’s Dairyman team, we congratulate Erik on all his efforts, graduation, and recognition by his peers. Best of luck to all the students as they embark on the next steps in their careers.

    Patti Hurtgen

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