The National Dairy Shrine (NDS) recently announced the winners of the 2009 Graduate Dairy Production, Progressive Dairy Producer, Pioneer, Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder, and Guest of Honor awards.

Receiving the Guest of Honor, the highest award bestowed by the National Dairy Shrine, is Calvin Covington, Clemmons, N.C. Covington served as the chief executive officer of Southeast Milk Inc. for the past 10 years. Southeast Milk is the nation's 15th largest cooperative, and Covington has been instrumental in the cooperative's growth since his arrival in 2000. Prior to that, he spent 23 years with the American Jersey Cattle Association-National All Jersey, Inc.

The NDS Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder is the William Ramsey family from Paradise Valley Farms near Louisville, Ohio. The Ramseys are the breeders of Paradise-R Cleitus Mathie. On March 14, 2000, Mathie produced his one-millionth unit of semen becoming one of 42 bulls to achieve this distinction. His official production proof numbers includes some 62,000 daughters worldwide. The Ramsey family is currently participating in an American Dairy Association Mideast effort to introduce Ohio dairy farmers to consumers through a website

Dr. Jack Albright, Merle Howard, Dr. Lee Majeskie, Dr. Rex Powell, and Mert Sowerby were selected as National Dairy Shrine Pioneers for 2010. Dr. Jack Albright is professor emeritus in the animal sciences department at Purdue University and was a leading animal welfare researcher and successful judging coach. Merle Howard was on the first National Dairy Shrine Board, was a long-time World Dairy Expo volunteer, the 1954 Klussendorf Winner, and is one of only eight recipients of the National Dairy Shrine 4-E Award for outstanding service. Dr. Lee Majeskie built and maintained one of the most successful 4-H programs in the country in Maryland while coaching many successful dairy cattle judging teams. Dr. Rex Powell is a highly published and dedicated geneticist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal Improvement Laboratory who was instrumental in the development and use of international genetic evaluations. Mert Sowerby is an internationally known dairy judge, farm manager, classifier, a charter member of National Dairy Shrine and 1953 winner of the Klussendorf Award.

Luke and Derek Johnson, in the small herd division, and Andy and Lynn Buttles, in the large herd division, were selected as NDS Progressive Dairy Producers. The Johnsons have a well-known herd of registered Holsteins (under the prefix Joleanna) in New York that have captured several national show winnings. The Buttles' Stone Front Farm is a fifth generation 400-cow, Holstein and Jersey dairy in Wisconsin. The Buttles were recognized by Holstein USA as the Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder in 2004.

Tim Northrup of York, N.Y., has been selected as the Graduate Dairy Production winner. This award goes to an active dairyman who has graduated from college in the last five years and has already demonstrated excellent dairy management ability.