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Holstein breeders flock to Illinois for annual convention

ST. CHARLES, IL -- Holstein enthusiasts from Maine to California convened in the middle of the nation for the 2015 National Holstein Convention hosted by the breeders of Illinois on June 23-26. Breeders flocked to St. Charles to enjoy the fellowship of old friends, conduct the business of the association and buy and sell top-shelf genetics at the National Holstein Convention Sale.

The Kane County Fairgrounds was the site for the convention sale where it was standing room only as buyers and bidders crowded in on Wednesday, June 24th for a chance to buy some of the best genetics in North America. The sale average was $9730 with a gross of $1,002,200 and was managed by Burton Consulting.

Topping the sale at $103,000 was Lot 12, an Alta1stClass heifer born in February with a GTPI of +2703 out of a McCutchen dam from the Rudy Missy family. She was purchased by PEAK Genetics of Wisconsin and consigned by Country Dairy of New Era, Michigan. With a price of $45,000, Lot 11 was the second high seller. She was Spruce Haven Sil S016348-ET and was purchased by Rock Hill Dairy of New Mexico.

Recognition of breeders played a large role at the final banquet on Friday, June 26th. Joe Mills of Millwork Holsteins of Thompsontown, Pennsylvania was honored as Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder. This award is given annually to a Holstein Association USA (HAUSA) member or partnership between the ages of 21 and 40. It recognizes the significant accomplishments of young Registered Holstein breeders, and their commitment to preserving the dairy industry and achieving excellence in their daily lives.

Duane Green of Elsie, Michigan was presented with the Distinguished Leadership award for his outstanding leadership to the HAUSA and the dairy industry as a whole. Duane's father, Merle Green, started Green Meadow Farms in Elsie in 1922 and in 1954, Duane went into partnership in the dairy with his brother, Velmar. Today, Green Meadow Farms is home to 9,500 animals, most of them Holsteins.

Conant Acres of Canton, Maine were honored with the Elite Breeder award. This award is given to a HAUSA member or partnership who have bred high quality Registered Holsteins. The Conant family farm is managed by a family team of Duane and Betty and their children Dennis and Heidi Conant and Debbie and Steve Keene.

Youth were also recognized for their leadership as the six finalists for the Distinguished Junior Member (DJM) competition were selected. After a rigorous application process and interviews with several judges, the finalists selected were Elizabeth Endres, Wisconsin; Jessica Pralle, Wisconsin; Megan Rauen, Iowa; Jacob Shaffer, Pennsylvania; David Hardesty Jr., Virginia; and Kathryn Osborne, Pennsylvania.

These six individuals were chosen from a group of twelve semifinalists who interviewed during the National Junior Holstein Convention. The finalists will receive annual renewed memberships to Holstein Association USA.

One of the most popular events of the National Holstein Convention is farm tour day. Three local farms hosted tours for the convention attendees. Golden Oaks Farm of Wauconda, Lindale Holsteins and Luck-E Holsteins both of Hampshire, welcomed the Holstein enthusiasts in to look over their operation and gaze at their beautiful herds of cattle.

The 2016 National Holstein Convention will be hosted by the New York Holstein Association at Saratoga Springs on June 27- July 1.